Ducks Unlimited Canada

Ducks Unlimited Canada

June 11, 2014 17:15 ET

Ducks Unlimited Canada Supports Newly Proposed Drainage Regulations for Manitoba

OAK HAMMOCK MARSH, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - June 11, 2014) - The Province of Manitoba is positioned to become a leader in prairie wetland protection with the adoption of proposed Sustainable Drainage Regulations. These regulations would protect more than 1.25 million acres of wetlands in southern Manitoba, resulting in significant environmental and economic benefits.

"The Sustainable Drainage Regulations will be a huge step forward in wetland protection in Manitoba, and positions Manitoba as a leader in wetland policy across the prairies," says Scott Stephens, director of regional operations, prairies, for Ducks Unlimited Canada. "These wetlands are essential for storing carbon, protecting our precious water supplies, and providing enormous flood storage capacity."

By protecting these wetlands, Manitoba will:

  • Store more than 100 million tonnes of carbon. This is equivalent to more than three times the annual emissions from all road vehicles in Canada.
  • Prevent up to 1,000 tonnes of phosphorus from entering our provincial lakes and waterways annually. This is more than agriculture's current estimated annual contribution to phosphorus loading in Lake Winnipeg.
  • Prevent or reduce nutrient and pesticide runoff from approximately one-third of agricultural land.

These regulations will also result in cost savings to Manitobans, by securing the flood mitigation benefits provided by wetlands.

The protected wetlands boast a flood storage capacity that exceeds 11 times the capacity of the 35 mile-long Shell Mouth Reservoir. The reservoir was built in 1972 at an approximate cost of $10.8 million. When calculated in today's dollars, the flood storage capacity of these wetlands is estimated at more than $665 million.

The Province's regulatory framework will safeguard these environmental and economic benefits by utilizing a no-net-loss of wetlands benefits approach.

"Southwestern Manitoba is currently losing more than 5,000 acres of wetlands every year," says Stephens. "No-net-loss of benefits is a fair and balanced approach that means proponents will still have the opportunity to drain some wetlands where absolutely necessary, but the lost values, functions, and benefits of those drained wetlands will need to be replaced."

The Province has initiated a consultation phase prior to adopting the Sustainable Drainage Regulations. Ducks Unlimited Canada encourages all Manitobans to show their support for the long-term protection of wetlands, and their environmental and economic benefits, by participating in this consultation process.

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. Learn more at www.ducks.ca.

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