There is a worthwhile blog post about wetlands on the Canadian Geographic site, located here.
Wetlands, and of course the lakes, rivers and streams that they are often associated with, are critical to a lot of life, including yours and mine. In fact the survival of most plant and animal life is dependent to varying degrees, on water.
Here in Chatham-Kent, at the time of settlement, according to a 1987 paper, the landscape was made up of 66% wetland, which includes both marsh and swamp. By 1967, only 5% remained and by 1982, that number had dropped further to 3.7%. I don't have figures for the current status, but I expect we have all seen more wetlands disappear than re-appear on the landscape, and there are continuous threats to those few remaining wetlands. For a municipality with less than 5% natural area, not a lot of that is in wetland form, so it is fair to say that wetlands have declined significantly since 1982.
|St. Clair area wetlands|
Some of the wetlands in Chatham-Kent and neighbouring counties were nominated, but currently only two have been adopted as a Ramsar Site. They are Point Pelee National Park and St. Clair National Wildlife Area.
|St. Clair NWA|
- 25% of the North American population of Tundra Swans pass through the area;
|Resting swans and geese|
- over 200,000 Canada Geese pass through the area.
|Tundra Swans, Canada Geese and a few ducks|
- up to 360,000 individual waterbirds pass through the area, including Canvasback, Redhead and Mallards. During the most recent Christmas Bird Count for this area, on January 1, 2016, our one day count of waterfowl totalled over 55,000 birds. In 2007, our one day count totalled over 95,000 birds!
|A lot of Swamp Rose Mallow|
|Swamp Rose Mallow|
The numbers of shorebirds and waterfowl are amazing. For example, on migration, more than one million Snow Geese pass through, and some breed here in huge colonies.
|Blue phase Snow Goose with young|
|Red Knot (Black-bellied Plover in background)|
No examples were provided, because to this person, it was evident by just looking around. I'm not really sure what that person was looking at, however, as the overwhelming evidence is exactly the opposite. Our native populations of flora and fauna have been in decline for decades, and show no signs of letting up. In fact the number of officially, legally Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species has never been higher, and there are dozens and dozens of other species waiting to be evaluated to determine their status. The only thing that is increasing on the landscape is the abundance of non-native invasive species. And that will be discussed in another post.