In a recent blog, we highlighted how wetlands benefit wildlife, but there is more to them than that. They benefit all life (including us) in many different ways.
Ontario’s wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate and we need your help to tell the government why they should be protected. To this end, we took to the streets to find out why wetlands are important to you.
Here’s what you had to say:
“They’re nature’s way of managing water” – Frank Jonkman, Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury. Wetlands provide flood protection by absorbing water and slowly releasing it across the floodplain. This is especially true in urban areas!
“The ecosystem services they provide are not just for wildlife, but for people too” – Courtney Beaver, University of Toronto graduate student. Wetlands improve water quality by replenishing groundwater and filtering drinking water.
“Losing wetlands is a huge loss for recreation and natural education in Ontario” – Kali Anevich, recreational hunter and outdoor education teacher in Northern Ontario. Wetlands provide crucial recreation opportunities such as hunting, fishing, birdwatching, wildlife photography, hiking, canoeing, kayaking and more!
Documenting species at Cawthra Muclock Nature Reserve; Credit: Lisa Richardson
“The built up areas that surround the wetland provide ample shade shelter for my cattle in the hot afternoons.” – Kali Buck Calabrese, Dairy Farmer in Peterborough County. Wetland vegetation prevents shoreline and stream bank erosion by holding the soil in place with their roots and absorbing the wave energy of streams and rivers.
“They’re the lungs of the planet.” – Deanna Lindblad, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.
The Government of Ontario has completed its first round of public consultation for a Strategic Plan for Ontario Wetlands and will release the draft strategy for public review early in 2016.
“Wetlands have always been important places for First Nations. They provided food and medicines for our survival.” – Clayton Coppaway, First Nations Scientist. Wetland ecosystems provide us with food such as fish, waterfowl and cranberries, as well as energy in the form of lumber and peat.
Wetland at G. G. Newton Nature Reserve; Photo Credit Ontario Nature
Please tell us why you care about wetlands, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. If we don’t show that these wet and wonderful places mean something to us, we risk losing them and their benefits forever.
Sepi Ghafouri is Ontario Nature’s nature reserve conservation intern. She graduated with a BSc in ecology and environmental science from the University of Toronto, and completed a post-graduate diploma in environmental management at Niagara College. Sepi enjoys travelling and the outdoors, and is always looking for opportunities to combine the two.