Level Pelee Nationwide Park, Marsh Boardwalk © Daveynin CC BY 2.0

February 2, 2022 marks the fiftieth anniversary of World Wetlands Day. This annual occasion goals to lift consciousness of wetlands to reverse their ongoing decline. Worryingly, practically 90 % of the world’s wetlands have been degraded because the 18th century.

This reality displays the historic lack of wetlands we’ve got seen in Ontario. South of the defend, the loss exceeds 72 % – over 85 % in communities together with Essex, Kent, Lambton, Brant, Russell & Prescott, Perth, Middlesex, Niagara and Toronto.

Rattray Marsh, Mississauga © Kevin Cabral CC BY 2.0

And the loss continues. As a substitute of implementing Ontario’s Wetland Conservation Technique, together with a dedication to enhancing coverage devices to higher protect wetlands, the Ontario authorities goes in the wrong way. For instance, she selected to disregard public outcry to weaken the coverage in order that even provincially vital wetlands are actually susceptible to destruction sanctioned by Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs).

Nonetheless, moderately than sinking into doom and gloom, allow us to be impressed by the official theme of this yr’s World Wetlands Day – Wetlands Motion for Folks and Nature.

Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group, which removes phragmitesRemoving of Phragmites © Lambton Shores Phragmites Neighborhood Group

So, to take motion, listed here are seven methods you’ll be able to make investments your time and vitality in wetlands over the approaching months:

  1. Love your wetlands. This may be so simple as visiting a wetland to understand the truth that it’s nonetheless there and gives a haven for thus many crops and animals. Carry a buddy or member of the family to share within the marvel and appreciation.
  2. Keep watch over the native wetlands. From Niagara to Bracebridge and Ottawa to the James Bay lowlands, communities defend native wetlands. Your efforts can imply the distinction between preservation or destruction. An inspiring instance is the essential position decided group members performed in combating the MZO, which threatened the province’s Decrease Duffins Creek wetland in Pickering.

Save The Duffins Creek Provincially Significant Wetlands, public protest, activismDuffins Creek MZO protest © Jonathan Oliver

  1. Get your palms soiled. Search for alternatives to become involved in wetland restoration and cleanup. For instance, in July 2021, members of the Ontario Nature’s Youth Council organized a planting drive in Whitby to enhance pollinator habitat in a wetland created to stem flooding.
  2. Get entangled in group science. One alternative is to take part within the third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, which can assist present which species depend on which wetlands to nest and lift their younger.
  3. Assist measures to strengthen wetland safety. The provincial authorities has promised to develop Ontario’s protected areas and develop the inexperienced belt. Each initiatives supply a way of strengthening wetland safety. For extra info, see the Collective Conservation Areas Story Map, which incorporates places such because the North French River Watershed, Minesing Wetlands, and the Holland Marsh Provincial Wildlife Space. See additionally the joint greenbelt extension proposal, supported by 50 organizations, recommending that wetlands within the Nice Golden Horseshoe be included within the greenbelt.

Misery Bay BioBlitz, 2015, Blanding Turtle, Wetland Research
Distress Bay BioBlitz, 2015 © Michael Wynia

  1. Vote for nature. Ontario has provincial and native elections this yr. Be certain that candidates know you care about wetlands and make your vote rely.
  2. Select pleasure over despair. Let your self be guided by these phrases from Robin Wall Kimmerer: “Even a wounded world holds us tight and provides us moments of marvel and pleasure. I select pleasure over despair. Not as a result of I bury my head within the sand, however as a result of the earth offers me pleasure daily and I’ve to offer the reward again.” (Weaving candy grass)

Wetlands supply a lot to be grateful for. In 2022, let’s do the best factor in wetlands and provides again the reward.

Anne Bell, Dr.  Ontario Nature, Director of Conservation and Education

Anne Bell has led Ontario Nature’s conservation and education schemes since 2007. She loves hen watching, tenting, swimming and snowboarding, and taking part in hockey together with her household and mates.