Water Sustainability Act and Wetlands – Are we doing enough?

British Columbia is currently modernizing its more than 100 year old Water Act and is offering the public an opportunity to provide comment on their legislative proposal (unfortunately that opportunity ends today!).  Let the province know that you want strong protection for wetlands included in the development of the Act.   This is a critical opportunity to ensure that wetlands are protected.  Below is a statement we’ve submitted in response to the Legislative Proposal:
Wetlands are one of our most imperiled ecosystems in BC, the province having lost 70 to 90% in developed areas. Wetlands are only protected implicitly in the 2013 Legislative Proposal. This is change in the direction from what we’ve seen during consultation on the development of the new Water Sustainability Act.
British Columbians and many conservation groups were led to believe wetlands would finally receive some much needed protection when the previous policy proposal: British Columbia’s new Water Sustainability Act (2010) explicitly stated that one of the 11 province-wide policy measures of the modernized act was: “Preserving and protecting wetlands” (page 7). Inclusion of this objective at the provincial scale is critical to safeguarding wetlands, and was applauded among the conservation community as a much needed improvement in comparison to the 2009 discussion paper. However, in 2013, this supportive and firm language for wetlands conservation has now been dropped almost completely.
Recommendation: The Water Sustainability Act is the primary tool that can provide enabling legislation to protect wetlands. We recommend that wetlands are explicitly provided protection by being identified as a key target for protection within the new Act and afforded the appropriate mechanisms to address degradation and loss. British Columbians simply cannot afford to lose as many wetlands as have already been lost in the last 100 years due to lack of sufficient or clear regulations.
If you want to support wetlands, then please share your views on the Ministry of Environment’s blog today!

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