A shocking 68 per cent of southern Ontario’s wetlands have been altered or destroyed. The wetlands that remain are often negatively impacted by urban development and agriculture. Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) has spearheaded a number of programs aimed at restoring wetlands in the Credit River watershed and the Greenbelt. CVC has developed a tool to help conservation practitioners measure the environmental and social benefits of restoring wetlands, known as the Wetland Restoration Environmental Benefit Index (EBI).
Wetland restoration can be costly. This tool allows conservation practitioners to prioritize potential projects and invest in projects with the maximum benefit to the environment and nearby communities.
Wetlands contribute to our quality of life and our survival. They are the most biologically diverse ecosystems. They provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife and act as giant sponges by soaking up water and releasing it slowly over time to limit flooding.
The EBI is a calculator that measures three components: biological, hydrological and social. Within each of these components are nine sub-components and 28 attributes that are individually measured to achieve the total benefit score of a proposed wetland restoration project. Funding for the tool was provided by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.
“We are pleased to launch the Wetland Restoration EBI to the conservation community,” said Mark Eastman, Agricultural Specialist at CVC. “This tool will help measure the numerous benefits provided by wetlands, which are often overlooked or undervalued.”
Many of the Greenbelt’s remaining wetlands need to be restored. With basic understanding of Microsoft Excel, the EBI tool can be modified to suit the needs of conservation practitioners working across the diverse landscape of the Greenbelt region.
“The Greenbelt has more than 15,000 provincially significant wetlands, providing benefits worth hundreds of millions of dollars, from canoeing and birdwatching, to protecting properties and crops from flood damage,” said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “A little investment goes a long way when it comes to wetlands and this is why we are pleased to support this innovative tool for Greenbelt landowners.”
Visit www.creditvalleyca.ca/egs to download the Wetland Restoration EBI user manual and calculator tool.
For more information, contact Mark Eastman at 905-670-1615 ext. 430 or email@example.com
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