Wetlands are often described as the sponges of the planet since they hold so much water, but they are much more than just land that is wet. Wetlands are home to large numbers of wildlife species, second only to rainforests in their level of biodiversity. They filter and clean water that we’ll later likely drink, help reduce the impact of floods and act as critical carbon sinks for our atmosphere.
Generally, plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air as they grow, storing carbon in their tissue. When a plant dies and decomposes, that carbon is released back into the atmosphere, becoming a source of carbon rather than a sink. But wetlands are unique in that their soils contain very little oxygen (needed for decomposition) so plant material breaks down very slowly – storing carbon rather than releasing it back into the atmosphere.
Unfortunately, an estimated 48 per cent or 13,331 acres of wetland in the Credit River watershed have been lost or degraded since 1954, largely due to human activities such as expansion of urban areas, agriculture and industrial development. Without protection and restoration, an additional 2,573 acres of wetland and their environmental benefits could be lost by 2020. In fact, wetlands are among the most rapidly declining ecosystems in the world.
Restoring wetlands on your property that have been drained or altered or protecting the wetlands that you have, will help mitigate climate change and contribute greatly to protecting the Credit River watershed. Every 100 acres of wetland removes 2,500 tonnes of carbon annually. That’s the same as taking 500 cars off the road every year.
CVC can help you restore your wetland. To learn more about the natural features on your property and the actions you can take to protect and enhance them, visit www.creditvalleyca.ca.