What is a Wetland?
Wetlands are essential in keeping our water clean and mitigating flooding. They store, clean, and release water. As nature’s kidneys, wetlands are a natural filter for water. Wetlands also provide habitat and food for animals.
Loss of wetlands
Much of the natural lands in the Lake Winnipeg watershed were once bogs, marshes, meadows and land that frequently flooded. There has been a loss of as much as 70% of wetlands in the prairies.
Canadian wetlands provide benefits worth more than $10 billion per year. Yet, most of Canada’s wetlands are disappearing.
Changes in temperature and amount of rain and snow will likely increase flooding and droughts. Climate change is contributing to the loss of our wetlands.
Hotter summers and less rainfall will dry up many wetlands, as farmers will need to rely on irrigation to keep crops alive. The loss of wetlands gets rid of our natural capacity to clean water and house wildlife.
Effect of Temperature and Rainfall Variations
The economic value of wetlands
Humans drain wetlands to increase farmland, develop industries, and to grow our cities. Draining wetlands has reduced our ability to store water, has altered natural systems, and has destroyed bird nesting and fish spawning grounds.
Wetland loss from human developments
Wetland loss leads to water degradation
Unfortunately, the drainage water from wetlands carries with it contaminants that can degrade water quality. We need to do more to ensure these valuable nutrients stay on the land. We can't allow the nutrients to move into waterways where they fuel algal blooms' growth.