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Happy World Wetlands Day!

Wetlands

On Feb. 2, 1971, an intergovernmental treaty called the Ramsar Convention was adopted. Named for the Iranian city in which its adoption occurred, the convention came into force in 1975 to provide a framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. (You can learn more about the Ramsar Convention here.)

Today, almost 90 per cent of UN member states – including Canada – are considered “contracting parties.” Contracting parties implement the Ramsar Convention and collaborate on shared projects. More than 2,000 wetlands across the globe (37 in Canada) are currently designated as Ramsar sites.

Since 1997, Feb. 2 has been observed as World Wetlands Day. Throughout the world, people are encouraged to raise awareness about the importance of wetlands and take action in their own communities to protect these special areas.

At LWF, we love wetlands. These amazing ecosystems provide all sorts of valuable services and benefits: from biodiversity to flood mitigation to recreational opportunities.

Wetlands help keep our water clean. The vegetation in wetlands filters out nutrients like phosphorus from the water that eventually ends up in lakes such as Lake Winnipeg, helping to control the growth of harmful algae blooms

Because these areas are so important, Keeping Water on the Land is Action 1 of LWF’s Lake Winnipeg Health Plan, in recognition that protecting Manitoba’s remaining wetlands will help protect the health of Lake Winnipeg.

Here are a few ways you can celebrate World Wetlands Day:

  • Read Nature’s Wealth, the four-page feature LWF created in collaboration with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). This publication delves into the ecological and economic value of wetland areas, and highlights some of the conservation, policy and research initiatives currently underway across Manitoba. It also contains lots of fun facts. (Who knew moose could dive?!)
  • Visit the official World Wetlands Day website. It has lots of information and resources.
  • Make a pledge for wetlands.
  • Visit a wetland near you and get to know the plants and wildlife that live there. Here in Manitoba, there are lots to choose from, including Oak Hammock Marsh, one of Canada’s Ramsar sites!
  • Join the conversation on Twitter by following #WorldWetlandsDay. We’ll be retweeting all sorts of interesting wetland facts; be sure to follow us @SaveLakeWinnipeg and tell us why you love wetlands. (We’ll be talking about wetlands on our Facebook page, too.)

Wetlands are diverse, environmentally valuable ecosystems worth protecting. Join us and others around the world in showing them some love today!

LWF publishes a newsletter, The Watershed Observer, twice a year. Our most recent edition includes information on our emerging community-based monitoring network, details about groundbreaking microplastics research made possible through our grants program, and helpful tips on how you can speak up for water by reaching out to decision makers.