British Columbia’s wetlands currently comprise around 5.28 million hectares (13.047 million acres), or approximately 5% of the land base. These wetlands provide critical habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife.
Most wildlife use wetland habitat at some point in their life cycle and many red and blue listed species are wetland dependent.
Wetlands are helping minimize or even remediate environmental problems. As part of nature’s filtration system wetlands absorb and filter sediments, pollutants, and excess nutrients; recharge groundwater; maintain stream flows; control runoff; store flood waters; reduce erosion; stabilize shorelines; and help regulate atmospheric gases and climate cycles.
In short, wetlands absorb water quickly and release it slowly with an improvement in quality. Conservation and management efforts help reduce wetland losses. A comprehensive approach is needed to ensure the protection and management of wetlands.
Several initiatives currently under development including the biodiversity strategy, and
the species at risk strategy, as well as ongoing land use planning and protected areas management, will play an important role in protecting maintaining and restoring wetlands.
BC Wetlands grow with land purchase by conversation groups (Vancouver Sun, March 2017)
Marshes are probably one of the most commonly recognized wetland communities. This ecological community has a range of freshwater and marine forms, influenced by the fluctuations in local water tables and the tides. Soils may be mineral in nature or well-humified peat. Plant communities are typically emergent species tolerant of protracted shallow flooding.