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World Wetlands Day

Across the country, powerful ecosystems are protecting our water resources. They are Canada’s wetlands.

Powerful ecosystems — Protecting our water resources

Wetlands underpin almost every aspect of our water’s health 

They buffer our coastlines from rising tides and extreme weather. The plants that grow in wetlands filter and clean the water that moves across the land and enters our lakes and rivers. 

Now, more than ever, their ability to provide solutions to our most pressing water issues demands recognition—and action. 

On World Wetlands Day,  join us and commit to conserving these vital ecosystems.

Why wetlands matter

And need protection

Watch the video


For more than 82 years, DUC has been conserving wetlands and studying the benefits they provide to both wildlife and people. Through our science and our stories, we can help answer the question:

What do wetlands really do for our water? 

They clean it.

Case study: St-Pierre-Jolys, Manitoba

When the town of St-Pierre-Jolys began using a constructed wetland to clean water flowing from its lagoon, water tests showed that phosphorus levels dropped significantly.

  • Phosphorus in the lagoon water was more than 70% higher than allowed by provincial guidelines
  • Phosphorus in the wetland-treated water dropped to be 97% lower than allowed by provincial guidelines
  • The water released from the wetland contained significantly less phosphorus than the river it flowed into

Source: Native Plant Solutions


FAST FACT: Per person, Canada has the world’s largest supply of renewable fresh water. But we can’t take it for granted. Wetlands play a critical role in proving us with cleaner, safer water. 

Restored Manitoba prairie wetland
The power of small wetlands for clean water

The power of small wetlands for clean water

New DUC research quantifies the role of restored wetlands in capturing phosphorus in agricultural watersheds.

Focus on water in Ontario

Focus on water in Ontario

Science is helping us better understand the role of small wetlands in water quality

The new green scene

The new green scene

Harnessing wetlands as green infrastructure solutions to our water woes

They help protect us from flooding.

Case study: Camrose Creek, Alberta

Research shows that wetlands, serving as natural infrastructure in this central Alberta watershed, provide ecosystem services and environmental benefits at an estimated value of:

  • $1.25 million in flood protection
  • $1.8 million in social benefits
  • Approximately 900,000 tonnes of carbon stored

Source: Pattison-Williams, J.K. 2018. A Business Case for Wetland Conservation in the Camrose Creek Watershed.

FAST FACT: Coastal wetlands and salt marshes act as nature’s defence system: They reduce coastal energy by lowering the amplitude and speed of ocean waves and they mitigate storm damage. They also shield coastlines from erosion.

Camrose Creek Research Project

Camrose Creek Research Project

Cutting-edge research from DUC’s Camrose Creek Research Project in Alberta sheds new light on the significant benefits prairie wetlands provide to Alberta’s environment and economy.

Buttertubs Marsh: a community asset in Nanaimo

Buttertubs Marsh: a community asset in Nanaimo

In Nanaimo, B.C., Buttertubs Marsh Conservation Area is the perfect example of the many benefits a wetland can bring to a community.

Natural infrastructure for a climate-ready Ontario

Natural infrastructure for a climate-ready Ontario

How are wetlands are integrated into flood management in southern Ontario? What is needed for deeper integration of wetland conservation into flood-risk management?

The Woodstock Model of Urban Wetland Restoration

The Woodstock Model of Urban Wetland Restoration

Years of planning and partnership among Stewardship Oxford, DUC, the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, Oxford County and the City of Woodstock are paying out in the only green that really matters.

Partnership stems the tide of sea-level rise on the Fraser River Delta

Partnership stems the tide of sea-level rise on the Fraser River Delta

Sea-level rise is no longer something discussed in the abstract. The science is settled. Ducks Unlimited Canada and the City of Richmond partner to protect the tidal wetland habitats.

A saltwater solution for sea-level rise at Fullerton’s Marsh

A saltwater solution for sea-level rise at Fullerton’s Marsh

In Canada’s smallest province, DUC restores a salt marsh to slow erosion caused by rising seas

Lessons in adaptation help address sea-level rise at Musquash Marsh

Lessons in adaptation help address sea-level rise at Musquash Marsh

How restoring a salt marsh helps to protect one of New Brunswick’s most important coastal ecosystems

Re-wilding at Rivière du Nord

Re-wilding at Rivière du Nord

DUC reverts decades-old freshwater marsh to saltwater to protect New Brunswick coastline from sea-level rise and provide habitat for endangered species.

They protect rivers, lakes and beaches from algae blooms.

Case study: Restored wetlands in southern Ontario

Current research near Lake Erie is showing that restored wetlands are “phosphorus sinks,” removing excess nutrients that can cause blue-green algae outbreaks. The eight wetlands in the study all receive surface-water runoff from agricultural fields. Early findings include:

  • Overall reduction by 59% of the most problematic form of phosphorus
  • Three of the wetlands reduced phosphorus by 93-99%

Source: Determining the Nutrient Retention Capacity of Newly Restored Wetlands in Southwestern Ontario


FAST FACT: Conserving an area of wetland equal to the size of the average Canadian home will stop 0.05 kilograms of phosphorus and 0.19 kilograms of nitrogen from entering our lakes and rivers every year (helping to prevent harmful blue-green algae). 

Toxic Algae in great lakes
How much can wetlands help reduce summer algae outbreaks?

How much can wetlands help reduce summer algae outbreaks?

New research seeks to better understand the role of wetlands in restoring water quality

Media Resources 

Materials to support your coverage of Canada’s wetlands on World Wetlands Day 2021


Read the letter to the editor from DUC CEO Karla Guyn 


Download images that showcase the beauty and power of the wetlands that clean and protect our water resources. 

Download photos


Download embed links to our video highlighting the services wetlands provide that protect our water resources: 

 Wetlands and Clean Water video 


Download these concise infographics and factsheets to share on social media:

Why wetlands matter factsheet:

Download the Wetlands Factsheet (PDF)

Download the Wetland Factsheet Image (JPEG)


We can put you in touch with national and local science and conservation professionals with expertise in wetland ecology, flood/drought mitigation, waterfowl and wildlife. 

Request an interview now 

Your membership with Ducks Unlimited Canada helps to create a cleaner environment for future generations. It only takes a $50 donation, matched by our partners, to conserve an area of wetlands equal to the size of an average home. That habitat stores five tonnes of carbon and 41,000 litres of water and filters out pollutants.  

Donate today to join or renew your membership

Choose your new DUC Gear™ cap. It’s our way of saying “thanks” for choosing to make a difference on World Wetlands Day, and every day.