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Wetland Management Overview

If you have purchased a rural property which includes a wetland, don’t assume that this area is good for nothing. Your wetland is providing tremendous unseen benefits, and not just for turtles and ducks. Wetlands help filter pollutants and keep our water clean. Because they hold water like sponges, they help with storage, control flooding and prevent soil erosion. Local climate conditions are stabilized by wetlands. They provide crucial habitat for many species.

Wetlands have different functions as a result of their position in the landscape and their dominant water source so understanding your wetland within the bigger picture is important. Many of them have never been formally assessed. Yours might be the only one in the area or provide an important connection so you’ll want to know exactly what you’ve got. If you happen to have a “provincially significant” wetland on your property, you could even be eligible for a property tax reduction. Read more about how wetlands are evaluated.

In the past, decisions to alter wetlands have often been made without consideration for the long term. As a result, approximately 70 percent of the wetlands in southern Ontario have been lost to development or agriculture.

Previous owners may have tampered with your natural wetland but there are ways you can restore and even enhance a wetland to ensure that you get all the wonderful benefits it provides. Check out our webpage about Enhancing Wetland Habitat. You can learn what type of wetland you have, which wildlife typically inhabit it and begin to create a nature sanctuary on your property.

What Are Wetlands is a flyer published by OMNR which will help you identify which of the four major wetland types you might have.

Working Around Wetlands is booklet published by the provincial and federal governments which describes the types of wetland you might find on your property and offers advice for working around them.

A Guide to Stewardship Planning for Natural Areas provides a framework to help rural landowners create a stewardship plan for their property. This 135 page guide, published by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, may be downloaded in PDF format. Different types of wetlands are described as well as the types of vegetation you’re likely to find in each. This guide will help you determine the long term objectives for your wetland areas and plan activities to help you reach them.

The Rural Landowner Stewardship Guide helps you see your property in a new way. It asks you to think about your land, the buildings and structures on your land, and how your actions affect the larger landscape, from a new point of view. It provides a framework to allow you to evaluate your property and its management. Through completion of the worksheets, you will learn what you are doing right, and where you can improve in protecting our natural environment. This manual is available for download in PDF format, as well as extra worksheets to help you rate your activities.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs now provides farmers with cost-share funding for wetland restoration under its Environmental Farm Plan program.

Ducks Unlimited is a national non-profit organization with offices in each province committed to local wetland and wildlife conservation. Their website provides a number of resources for landowners wanting to learn more.

Wildlife Habitat Canada is a national non-profit organization that works to restore and conserve wildlife habitat, particularly wetlands. They work with landowners and communities on local projects and a number of conservation grants are available annually.

If the water in your wetland has become deeper as a result of a beaver dam you may need to lower the water level using a beaver baffler. A beaver baffler can be used to set the wetland at a specific depth. The result is you get to keep your wetland without damage caused by flooding. To read more about beaver bafflers just follow the link to Living With Beavers.


This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada. | Ce projet a été réalisé avec l’appui financier du gouvernement du Canada.

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