Re: Strange way to honour World Wetlands Day (Feb. 8)

February 20, 2018

The following is a response published in the 17/02/2018 Winnipeg Free Press Letters section Re: Strange way to honour World Wetlands Day

The editorial board of the Winnipeg Free Press hits the nail squarely on the head by stating “wetlands are a biodiversity treasure that should be valued, not diminished.” They are right to question why the Canadian government would cancel a long-standing fund for preserving our nation’s wetlands and the odd timing of doing so on the eve of World Wetlands Day.

The current direction of wetland stewardship in our province holds promise thanks to initiatives outlined in Manitoba’s new climate and green plan. The Sustainable Watersheds Act, introduced by Minister Rochelle Squires, when proclaimed will aim to restore and conserve wetlands in Manitoba’s agricultural zone. Looking north to the boreal region, which covers over 80 per cent of our province, the Manitoba government is developing a Boreal Wetlands Conservation Policy, in which the government states, “The development of best management practices and a commitment to a no-net-loss approach for boreal wetlands could be cornerstones of the policy.”

These initiatives demonstrate that our provincial government has the know-how to become a leader in Canada in the conservation and stewardship of wetlands. The test will be in how this knowledge is implemented on the ground. I look forward to the new legislation and to the boreal conservation policy for wetlands, and sincerely hope they result in effective conservation of this valuable resource.

As Manitoba’s wetlands provide essential habitat for an array of wildlife, help prevent or buffer costly floods, provide water filtration and store tremendous quantities of carbon (which if released into the atmosphere would accelerate climate change), we must take all measures to conserve them now before it becomes a burden that’s too difficult for future generations to endure.

Ron Thiessen

Executive director, Manitoba chapter

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

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