Ducks Unlimited Canada

Ducks Unlimited Canada

November 21, 2008 15:37 ET

DUC Pleased With Doer Government Commitment to Wetlands

Initiative builds on groundbreaking DUC research

OAK HAMMOCK MARSH, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Nov. 21, 2008) - As far as Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is concerned, the Government of Manitoba is on the right track with its Throne Speech commitment to a wetland initiative in the province.

"Ducks Unlimited Canada and our research support the provincial government as they launch a new Wetlands Protection and Restoration Initiative," says Bob Grant, Manager Provincial Operations for DUC in Manitoba. "This is an excellent and critical first step in moving toward a comprehensive and integrated wetland policy that protects and restores wetlands."

The wetlands initiative proposed by the Doer government in the November 20 Throne Speech builds on DUC's groundbreaking study in the Broughton's Creek watershed, located in the Rural Municipality of Blanshard north of Brandon.

Up to 70 per cent of wetlands in the Broughton's Creek watershed have been lost or degraded and Grant says this is having exceedingly negative impacts on Manitoba's environment. The research also confirms there are economic implications associated with wetland loss.

"Never before has DUC's push to stop the loss of wetlands been so staunchly supported by research," says Grant. "Our results are by far the most compelling scientific support for the benefits that Manitoba's wetlands provide all Manitobans. In fact, this research has broad application across Canada and DUC thanks the government for recognizing these implications."

In 2005 alone, nutrient removal and additional carbon released into the atmosphere as a result of lost wetlands in southwest Manitoba are estimated to cost Manitobans $15 million. These estimates are based on costs associated with removing the additional phosphorous and nitrogen from water and offsetting additional carbon emissions.

"Given that the province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg are investing millions of taxpayer dollars to reduce nutrient loading to Lake Winnipeg and to deal with climate change, stopping the continued destruction of wetlands should be a top priority," said Pascal Badiou, research scientist, for DUC's Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research. "Maintaining the status quo will significantly reduce the return on investment of our mitigation dollars. This figure will increase to $19 million per year by 2020 if wetland drainage or degradation is not stopped."

Badiou points out that the estimates do not account for the economic costs of downstream flooding, lost biodiversity, diminished ecotourism, lost groundwater recharge and the many other ecological functions that wetlands lose when drained or degraded.

This research justifies the need for a wetland policy. The impacts of wetland drainage and water quality should be of concern to all Manitobans. Wetland loss impacts our quality of life and our economic well-being.

DUC applauds the province as they move toward providing financial incentives for landowners and legislated protection that ensures the retention and restoration of Manitoba's important wetland resources.

"DUC has 70 years of wetland expertise and experience to assist government and stakeholders in the development of a wetland initiative that will benefit all Manitobans," said Grant. "DUC looks forward to working with the Government of Manitoba in developing an effective wetland policy."

Ducks Unlimited Canada is a private, non-profit organization that conserves, restores and manages wetlands and associated habitats for waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people.

Contact Information

  • Ducks Unlimited Canada
    Leigh Patterson
    Corporate Media Relations Specialist
    (204) 467-3306