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Issue 10 | April 2017

Monthly webinar series!

Are you interested in giving a webinar on a research project, experience developing or applying wetland BMPs?  We have an open spot for a presenter for the month of June, and we'd love for you to contact us!

This month, Mark Partington with FPInnovations will present Developing BMPs for Resource Roads and Wetlands.
Join us for this webinar 
April 20th, 2017 from 12:00-1:00 MST
Register here!
In May, Doug Kulba with Alberta Environment and Parks will present Inspiring a Culture of Responsible Resource Development through the Evergreen Learning and Innovation Centre.
Join us for this webinar 
May 31st, 2017 from 12:00-1:00 MST
Register here!

New CCME groundwater sustainability guide

Groundwater, accessed from underground sources, is an important part of the hydrological cycle. Fens, swamps, marshes, and open water wetlands can be hydrologically influenced by groundwater. The importance of using this resource sustainably is the chief concern of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME)'s Groundwater Sustainability Assessment Approach (GSAA). The GSAA integrates five goals relating to sustainable groundwater management created by the Council of Canadian Academics (CCA): protecting groundwater supplies from depletion and contamination, protecting ecosystem viability, achieving economic and social well being, and applying good governance. The CCME has recently developed the GSAA Guidance for Application to support users in the successful application of the GSAA. This document contains tools to help users of the GSAA assess the sustainability of groundwater in their area, including steps required to implement the GSAA, jurisdictional assessment and issue identification summaries, and checklists that provide systematic guidance for a jurisdiction undertaking a groundwater sustainability assessment. A variety of pilot projects conducted using the GSAA throughout Canada are referred to throughout the document. View the complete guide here


Impact of linear disturbances on permafrost peatlands

In Canada’s northern boreal, the cutting of seismic lines is one of the most prominent forms of surface disturbance. For his Master's thesis at Wilfred Laurier University, Michael Braverman analyzed the hydrological effects of seismic lines and developed tools and methods to evaluate permafrost degradation in areas of discontinuous permafrost in the Scotty Creek drainage basin in the Northwest Territories.  Permafrost is soil or rock that has remained frozen for multiple years and influences northern ecosystems and hydrological systems if it warms and thaws (NRC 2017). Subarctic peatlands permafrost is found exclusively below peat plateaus that rise 1-2m above the surrounding area. The disturbance of the surface of a peat plateau by natural or human activity, such as the cutting of seismic lines,  can diminish its ability to act as a frozen dam over permafrost. Braverman used visual observations, instrumental measurements, ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys and thermal modelling to conclude that linear disturbances on peatlands can trigger the formation of unfrozen patches within permafrost called taliks (NSIDC 2017) and decouple permafrost from freezing winter temperatures. The two main causes of permafrost thaw under linear disturbances were the increase of the mean annual ground surface temperature due to vegetation removal, and the increase in the density and water content of the unsaturated layers of soil, resulting in an increase of the thermal conductivity of the soil and allowing heat to move deeper into the ground. Read the full thesis here.  

Alberta NAWMP Partnership Municipal Wetland Conservation Guide

Legislation like Alberta’s Wetland Policy requires support from a variety of stakeholders to achieve its policy goals. Government at the provincial level plays an important role as a legislator and regulator but needs the participation of municipalities to be successful. In 2015, the Alberta North American Waterfowl Management Plan Partnership (Alberta NAWMP) formed a multi-sector working group to determine how municipalities can support wetland conservation. The Alberta NAWMP Municipal Wetland Conservation Guide was formed after the working group identified a need to outline the variety of ways municipalities can undertake wetland conservation and the tools they can use to succeed. This document is split into 10 modules that touch on different aspects of municipal wetland conservation, including understanding wetland policy and legislation, how to promote best management practices to landowners, and how to monitor progress. Within each module, a number of case studies, practical examples, links to external resources, and contacts are available to assist municipalities in wetland conservation work. Access the full guide here. For more information, contact Terra Simieritsch, AB NAWMP Coordinator. 

About the Knowledge Exchange
This is a venue for sharing boreal wetland best management practices information with the goal of raising awareness, increasing information transfer, and fostering collaboration amongst industry, government, academic, consulting, and other interested stakeholders.

For more information, visit our website. For past issues visit our archive.

Join the conversation

Please contact us if you have upcoming events, new and ongoing research, opportunities for collaboration, new publications, or any other wetlands BMP related work that you are interested in sharing.

To encourage participation, everyone who submits an article for our consideration for each month's Wetland BMP Knowledge Exchange Newsletter will be entered in a draw to win a monthly DUC prize. Contributors who submit an article that is used in the newsletter will also be entered to WIN a DUC print at the end of the year (December 2017)! Each article submitted will earn one contest entry. 

The more input we receive, the stronger and more useful the Knowledge Exchange will be to all members. So please, get in touch

Upcoming events

2017 Wetlands Institute 
*5 spots remain*
April 20, 2017
Lillooet, British Columbia 

NAIT Peatland Training School -  Bryophyte Identification and Peatland Classification 
April 24-25 or April 26-27
Edmonton, Alberta

2017 International Conference on Ecology and Transportation 
May 14-18, 2017
Salt Lake City, Utah

2017 CGU and CSAFM Joint Annual Scientific Meeting
Including 14 sections on hydrology
May 28-31, 2017
Vancouver, British Columbia 

Canadian Water Resources Association 2017 Conference
June 5-7, 2017
Lethbridge, Alberta

11th North American Forest Ecology Workshop
Including a special session on Managing Riparian Areas and Wetlands in an Integrated Approach to Forest Ecosystem Management 
June 19-22, 2017
Edmonton, Alberta

8th Annual Canadian Water Summit
June 22, 2017
Toronto, Ontario

Introduction to the Wetland Plants of British Columbia 
July 25-26, 2017 *FULL*
July 28-29, 2017 *some spots remain* 
Revelstoke, British Columbia 

August 21-25, 2017
Big Sky, Montana 

In the news

Did you know?

Peatlands make a large contribution to the storage of the world's carbon: they cover only approximately 3% of the earth's surface but hold one-third of the amount of earth's carbon stored in soils, 450 billion tonnes.  It is estimated that peatlands cover 12% of Canada's total land area storing 147 billion tonnes of carbon and sequestering 29 million tonnes of atmospheric carbon each year (Bridgham et al. 2006)  which which is about the yearly emissions from 22,538,662 vehicles.

How do peatlands store carbon?
The organic soils of peatlands are waterlogged and have low oxygen levels. This causes decomposition to happen slowly, and over time carbon is accumulated in the build-up of decaying organic material.

Dry periods associated with climate change and activities that disturb the hydrology of peatlands both correspond with lower carbon accumulation rates in peatlands due to the lowering of the water table, resulting in:
- unsaturated surface conditions
- aerobic decomposition
- CO2 release 

With the water table playing a large part in peatlands' ability to store carbon, human activities taking place in wetlands that interfere with the hydrological regime can have an impact on stored carbon levels. For these reasons, wetland conservation and water table protection are crucial to climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

For more information, check out:

Ramsar: Peatlands

Ramsar: 30 Good Reasons to Safeguard Peatlands!

International Peatland Society: Peatlands and Climate Change

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