OAK HAMMOCK MARSH, Manitoba, Jan. 31, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Across the country, powerful ecosystems are protecting our communities and our way of life. They are Canada’s climate change defenders. They are Canada’s wetlands.

On World Wetlands Day, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is joining organizations around the globe to emphasize the role wetlands play in providing natural solutions to the impacts of a changing environment. The occasion is a reminder of the need for conservation.  

“Conserving and restoring wetlands is one of the best things we can do to ensure the long-term health and prosperity of our environment and communities,” says Karla Guyn, chief executive officer for DUC. “Wetlands are key to unlocking climate change solutions—and they’re right in our backyard.”

Like all noble defenders, wetlands are impressive yet understated. Most importantly, they’re effective. Wetlands act as natural sponges that absorb flood waters. They provide a barrier that protects our coastlines from rising tides and extreme weather. The plants that grow in wetlands capture and lock away carbon, keeping it from being released into the atmosphere.

Wetlands do all of this, but largely go unnoticed. The science, however, is hard to ignore. DUC estimates that Canada’s wetlands store approximately 150 billion tonnes of carbon. That’s equivalent to the emissions of roughly six billion cars over 20 years. Additionally, when one acre of wetland is returned to the landscape it stores up to 1,000 cubic metres of runoff—or about 6,250 bathtubs worth. That same acre also filters up to four kilograms of phosphorus from our surface water. The benefits wetlands provide are real, and these vital ecosystems are proving their merit every day.

DUC scientist Pascal Badiou is one of Canada’s leading researchers studying wetlands and climate change. He says conserving wetlands is one of the most important things Canada can do to contribute to the global efforts to combat climate change. But there’s much work ahead.   

“In certain areas of Canada, we’ve lost in excess of 90 per cent of our wetlands and more continue to be lost every day,” says Badiou. “If we are going to make progress, this trend must be stopped.” 

For more than 80 years, DUC has been conserving wetlands and studying the benefits they provide to both wildlife and people. Learn more about DUC projects and research across the country that are delivering important climate change solutions.

On World Wetlands Day, DUC is calling on all Canadians to help conserve these vital ecosystems. Now, more than ever, wetlands and their ability to provide climate change solutions demands recognition—and action.

About World Wetlands Day: February 2nd marks the adoption of the Convention of Wetlands, which took place in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. It’s a treaty negotiated by countries and non-governmental organizations that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. Canada is one of the treaty’s contracting parties and currently has 37 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites).

About Ducks Unlimited Canada: 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.

For more information or to arrange an interview with one of our wetland experts, please contact:

Ashley Lewis,
Senior Communications Specialist
Ducks Unlimited Canada