Canadian Wildlife

New wetlands plan in Manitoba


Late in 2017, the government of Manitoba released a new plan to protect the province’s wetlands. The Made-in-manitoba Climate and Green Plan includes a variety of changes to environmen­tal policy but highlights wetlands.

“Wetlands are prime examples of a natural ecosystem that provides valuable ecological services,” the plan’s discussion paper reads. “They filter water, store water when it is abundant and save it for when it is dry. They store carbon and provide shelter and food for a myriad of species including plants, insects and animals.”

Wetlands preservati­on and restoratio­n also actively contribute­s to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “As much as 27.9 billion tonnes is estimated to be stored in Manitoba’s boreal peatlands — an amount equivalent to more than a century of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions,” says Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Scott Stephens. His group is an important contributo­r to the conversati­on about conserving wetlands. “If these wetlands are drained or destroyed, that carbon will be released into the atmosphere and deliver a devastatin­g blow to the environmen­t. That’s why conserving and keeping them intact is so important,” he says.

For now, however, Manitoba is losing, on average, the equivalent of four-and-a-half football fields worth of wetlands each day as they’re drained for farming. When implemente­d, this new plan may help to change that.

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