Wetlands: Why We Need Them

“Owls Head is characterized by repeating bedrock ridges that support a coastal barrens ecosystem. A globally rare heathland plant community occurs on the crests of the ridges and biodiverse bog wetlands predominate in the depressions between the ridges. This landscape pattern on the coast is only otherwise known from Blue Rocks, Lunenburg County, amidst residential developments with no conservation protection.”

– Biologists Caitlin Porter & Dr. Jeremy Lundholm
World Wetlands Day

It’s #WorldWetlandsDay! Time to celebrate vital wetland habitats like marshes, swamps, fens and bogs. It's also clear we need to better protect these important #ecosystems – the Global Wetland Outlook estimates that 35% have been lost in the past 45 years.

Posted by WWF-Canada on Saturday, February 1, 2020
Video by World Wildlife Fund – Canada

The following is an excerpt from the Nova Scotia Wetland Conservation Policy. Protect our wetlands, protect Owls Head.

Ecosystem Services and Functions Performed by Wetlands

Wetlands provide or support a wide range of important ecological, social and economic functions and services in our watersheds that are beneficial to Nova Scotians. Individual wetlands will typically only provide a subset of these functions and services. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Maintaining watershed health by moderating flood waters, slowing runoff rates and minimizing erosion and sedimentation of adjacent lakes and streams
  • Protecting human and ecosystem health by removing organic waste and bacteria and filtering excess nutrients (e.g., nitrogen and phosphorous), contaminants and silt from surface and ground water
  • Buffering the impact of storm water runoff and maintaining natural drainage regimes
  • Storing and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, potentially moderating climate effects
  • Protecting coastlines and coastal infrastructure from storm surges
  • Contributing to the water balance and drinking water supply by storing and releasing surface water and recharging groundwater reservoirs
  • Conserving biodiversity by providing important habitats for fish, wildlife and plants, often for rare or endangered species, such as our globally significant coastal plain flora
  • Producing abundant and diverse plant communities that may be released, after decomposing, as essential nutrients to support fisheries and food webs in nearby rivers, estuaries and coastal waters
  • Offering opportunities for recreational, scientific, aesthetic, spiritual and cultural pursuits
  • Supporting natural food (e.g., wild rice, cranberries) and peat production
  • Supporting medicinal and ceremonial plants important to the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia
Recommended:

A Special Habitat for Eider Ducks
Photos: Fauna of Owls Head
Letter from Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society
Letter from the Cole Harbour Rural Heritage Society

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