Protecting wetlands

Today is World Wetlands day, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is out to educate the public about the importance of this often-overlooked environment.

According to a media release sent out Wednesday, since settlement in Saskatchewan the province has lost 70 per cent of its original wetlands in settled areas, mostly in the southern part of the province.

“We need to become better stewards of these ecosystems and they face threats from climate change, population growth and development,” the release said.

According to the group, wetlands cover about 13 per cent of Canada, and Canada’s wetlands make up about 25 per cent of all wetlands left in the world.

Globally, since 1900 more than 64 per cent of the world’s wetlands have been lost, with about 50 per cent of this los occurring since 1970, the conservancy said.

The organization is working to combat this loss by conserving what wetlands we still have.

They have protected and restored wetlands nationally equivalent in size to the City of Toronto, and more than 16,000 acres in Saskatchewan.

“While we do have a lot (of wetlands) compared to other places, we are seeing parts slowly drained out and moved off the landscape,” said NCC conservation scientist Michael Burak.

“People don’t realize the true value they provide on multiple levels.”

For more on this story, please see the Feb. 2 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald