Lower Mainland Wetlands Declaration

The B.C. Wildlife Federation, in conjunction with the David Suzuki Foundation, World Wildlife Fund Canada, South Coast Conservation Program, and Ducks Unlimited, are proud to announce a wetlands declaration. The partnership is committed to:

Protecting 100 percent of the remaining wetlands in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland from further loss and degradation, and restore at least 10 percent of our lost wetlands before 2030.

Wetlands are critical to our survival and the success of the environment, and it is therefore important we work with the people, organizations, businesses, and government to protect them. These complex habitats act as giant sponges; rainfall and runoff is absorbed and slowly released over time, contributing to flood control, carbon sequestration, as well as both groundwater and stream recharge. As contaminants pass through wetlands – including chemicals, pollutants, and harmful bacteria – they are filtered and neutralized, effectively cleansing the inflow. In addition, the roots of wetland plants bind the shoreline together and provide bank stabilization and storm prevention. As a result of the role wetlands play in the environment, it is of no surprise they are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world. Humans benefit directly from wetlands as well; many staple foods that provide a large portion of the average diet are grown in wetlands. Locally, wetlands provide fish and waterfowl that serve as a food source for First Nations, hunters, and anglers. Across Asia and West Africa, wetlands are used for rice production, one of the world’s most consumed grains.

Just how much are these benefits worth, you ask? The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment gave wetlands a value of $15 trillion (US) in 1997; in the Lower Mainland, natural capital studies have estimated the values to be between an astonishing $38 million and $4.6 billion! This is why the B.C. Wildlife Federation and its partners are announcing the Lower Mainland Wetlands Declaration; a Call of Action to preserve our wetlands before they are lost.

If you would like to help, visit http://action2.davidsuzuki.org/lower-mainland-wetlands to send your message to Metro Vancouver’s Environment and Parks Committee. For more information, please visit http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/resources/2013/lower-mainland-wetlands-declaration/. We look forward to working together to conserve wetlands in the Lower Mainland!

References:

Molnar, M., M. Kocian and D. Batker. (2012). Valuing the Aquatic Benefits of BC’s Lower Mainland: Nearshore Natural Capital Valuation. David Suzuki Foundation. www.davidsuzuki.org/publications

Wilson, S. (2010). Natural Capital in BC’s Lower Mainland: Valuing the Benefits from Nature. 66 pages. Prepared for The Pacific Parklands Foundation. www.davidsuzuki.org/publications

World Wildlife Fund. (n.d.). The Value of Wetlands. http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/about_freshwater/intro/value/

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