Wetlands aren’t a good place to build a house but many diverse plants and animals call them home. Wetlands are teeming with life and activity. You’ll find plants and animals big and small, like:
- Majestic great blue herons, delicate dragonflies and vocal spring peepers
- Iconic cattails, whimsical white water lilies and striking blue-flag irises.
And if you happen to bring a microscope with you, you’ll see billions of microscopic algae, bacteria and fungi, too.
With around 35 million hectares of wetland in Ontario, these beautiful, lively natural spaces provide critical ecosystem services that protect human health and human homes. Wetlands act as nature’s water treatment plant. They filter pollutants to provide us with fresh drinking water and prevent the build-up of algae-causing nutrients. Wetlands are also vital natural infrastructure systems. Like a sponge, they capture, hold and slowly release water to prevent flooding and reduce the effects of drought. And they also offer social and economic benefits by supporting recreational activities like hunting, fishing and wildlife watching.
Wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate. Less than one million hectares of wetland remain in southern Ontario. Draining wetlands not only reduces wildlife habitat, but it also affects our ability to mitigate the effects of climate change. Wetlands capture carbon, regulate temperature and reduce the impacts of extreme weather events.
Wetlands are not wastelands. Protecting them protects our future. If you have a wetland on your property, we can help you restore, expand and protect it through activities like planting native plants, removing invasive species, decommissioning old tile drainage and retiring marginal farmland. To learn more about what you can do to protect your wetland, connect with a stewardship coordinator.
Nature-based solutions to climate change
Your Countryside Stewardship Team