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Issue 8 | February 2017

UPDATE: We have repaired the link to register for Mark Johnston's webinar.  Apologies for any inconvenience and we hope that you can join us.   


Monthly webinar series!

Our second webinar in this series will be by Dr. Bin Xu from NAIT Boreal Research Institute presenting on Applied research on mitigating and restoring in-situ footprint on boreal peatlands.  If you haven't yet registered, follow the link below!

Join us for the second webinar on
March 1st, 2017 from 12:00-1:00 MST
Register here!

Later in March, Mark Johnston from the Saskatchewan Research Council will be presenting on Measuring Carbon in Wetlands: A Rapid Assessment Protocol. Follow the link before to register or for more information.
Join us for the third webinar on
March 23rd, 2017 from 12:00-1:00 MST
Register here!
If you are interested in giving a webinar on a research or pilot project, experience developing and applying wetland BMPs, or any related topic, we would love to hear from you contact us!

Are you working on an interesting project you think others would like to hear about? Do you know of any ongoing research, new publications or other wetlands BMP related work? We want to hear from you! The Wetland Best Management Practices Knowledge Exchange was developed as a venue for sharing information about wetland BMPs to increase awareness and foster collaboration. This model works best when members contribute to help shape the content they want to see!
To encourage participation, we are offering some incentives. 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

Learn your bryophytes - keys and courses 

Bryophytes are a diverse group of species and are one of the oldest plant groups to dominate many Canadian ecosystems, including boreal forest wetlands (ABMI, 2015).  This diverse group of land plants including mosses, liverworts and hornworts can be tricky to identify; however, there are a number of helpful online resources.  To assist in disseminating botanical information on bryophytes, Bryokeys – an online key to bryophytes was developed as a one-stop-shop for free information on identifying these small but mighty non-vascular plants, searchable by genus or resource.  While most keys currently available are for European regions, we encourage you to share the resources you use with the Bryokeys administrator to help build this site into a globally useful tool for bryophyte identification. More locally, the Western Canada Bryophyte and Lichen Interest Group provides a list of published identification resources.  The University of British Columbia's (UBC) Herbarium at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum has an extensive bryophyte collection catalogued in its searchable online database.  If you are looking for hands-on training in bryophyte identification, the NAIT Boreal Research Institute will be hosting two sessions of a classroom and field-based bryophyte identification course in April, to register and learn more go here. For more information on bryophytes check out ABMI's Alberta’s Wonderful World of Bryophytes or UBC's Introduction to Bryophytes. Do you know of other resources for bryophyte identification? Let us know!

On the road to innovative seismic line restoration solutions in boreal peatlands

Cenovus Energy is now able to work towards seismic line restoration outside of the winter season, thanks to the adoption of amphibious vehicles, including tracked hoes and excavators. Operating conventional heavy equipment on wet or sensitive sites, such as boreal peatlands, can present challenges when the ground isn't frozen. Challenges include soil disturbance (e.g., compaction and rutting), as well as safety and operational concerns such as getting stuck or sinking in areas of deep peat deposits.  Amphibious vehicles use air filled drums held within their tracks that exert less pressure on the ground per square inch than a human footprint.  These vehicles help promote worker safety and decrease potential impacts to wet areas including peatlands, while extending the restoration season; Cenovus’ seismic line restoration treatment season has tripled.  In partnership with Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy and Nexen, Cenovus Energy is working towards their 10 year commitment to restore habitat for woodland caribou and now see the use of amphibious vehicles as a tool to help meet those commitments. View the full article here.

Permafrost thaw and landscape change in the N.W.T.   

Permafrost, ground that remains below 0C for at least two years, occurs in areas of high latitude with cold winters and thin winter snow cover.  In the Scotty Creek Research Basin of the Northwest Territories 50 kilometres south of Fort Simpson, Ryan Cannon is studying how climate change will impact northern hydrology.  Connon, a PhD candidate at Wilfred Laurier University, has traveled to this remote area for the past 5 years to examine the rate of permafrost thaw and its effect on the landscape.  In the Scotty Creek Research Basin permafrost cover has decreased from 70% in the 1940’s to about 40% today.  With this decrease in frozen ground, Connon found that the water flowing in the river basins in the Lower Liard River Valley has nearly doubled over the past 20 years.  With the amount of flowing water on the surface increasing, flooding is becoming more of a concern and has been linked to highway washouts in the Territories.  View the full article here or contact Ryan Connon for more information.

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.

Upcoming events

CLRA Alberta AGM and Conference
Feb 22-24, 2017
Red Deer, Alberta

Alberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society Conference and AGM
March 17-19, 2017
Lac La Biche, Alberta

Banff 2017 Pipeline Workshop
April 3-6, 2017
Banff, Alberta

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

Introduction to the Wetland Plants of British Columbia 
July 25-26, 2017
Revelstoke, British Columbia 

In the news

Did you know?

Wetlands are often referred to as 'nature's sponge' because of their ability to retain and release water. This critical role can also present certain safety challenges when working in and around wetlands, and there is no time when these challenges are more apparent than during spring melt.

- As the weather warms and frozen ground thaws, winter roads can become slippery, soft, and potentially unstable.

- The stability of the ground in fens can be deceiving to the eye; deep peat paired with flowing water can result in sinkage, while moving water can result in fens being the last to freeze and the first to thaw during the winter months. These attributes of fens can make them dangerous if encountered without a good understanding of peat and water flow characteristics. 

- Melting snow and precipitation in the spring can contribute to high water levels. Use caution when working around and crossing creeks, rivers, wetlands and other waterbodies 
- Spring break-up in Canada's western boreal forest usually occurs during April and May, but is weather dependent. A cold, wet winter could result in a longer break-up period as the frost deep in the ground will take longer to thaw, while a mild, dry winter could result in the opposite.

Having a good understanding about peat depths, flow characteristics, winter conditions, and the characteristics of different wetland types while continually monitoring current site conditions will help ensure that you are working safely in and around wetlands.
Stay informed, and stay safe! 


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