Wetlands are essential to our environment - they filter pollutants from our water, help control floods, and provide habitat for numerous wildlife species, including many on the endangered list. A total of 33 per cent of Ontario and 14 per cent of Canada is wetland. Unfortunately, as much as 80 per cent of Ontario's wetland has been lost to urbanization.
Wetlands - marshes, bogs, fens and swamps - are an essential part of the water cycle and they play an important role in ensuring water quality. Wetlands are places we want to protect as primary sources of vital drinking water.
The water you use to brush your teeth, make your coffee or shower in the morning most likely spent part of its life slowly filtering through a wetland.
Wetlands are important for many reasons:
- Wetlands trap, break down, remove or use nutrients, agricultural herbicides and pesticides, organic waste and sediment that flow into them with surface water runoff.
- Wetlands provide habitat for hundreds of species of plants, birds, fish and other wildlife.
- They reduce the severity of floods by retaining water and releasing it slowly during drier periods.
- They help to reduce shoreline erosion by slowing the flow of water and lowering the peak runoffs of streams and rivers during heavy spring flows and storms.
- Wetlands recharge groundwater by soaking up surface water and allowing it to seep back into the ground.
Wetlands provide unique areas for recreation and for scientific research.