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Issue 9 | March 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 Johnston with the Saskatchewan Research Council will present Measuring Carbon in Wetlands: A Rapid Assessment Protocol.
Join us for this webinar 
March 23rd, 2017 from 12:00-1:00 MST
Register here!
In April, 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!

Understanding off-highway vehicle use of legacy seismic lines

Linear restoration in caribou ranges is a priority for the recovery of threatened populations. Directions under the federal caribou recovery strategy and the Alberta Caribou Action Plan to restore linear features have provided additional incentive for understanding how lines recover and the factors that may influence recovery. Linear features, specifically seismic lines, are commonly used for recreation by off-highway vehicles (OHVs). OHVs may negatively affect seismic line regeneration by damaging seedlings and young vegetation, and causing soil compaction and erosion. FRI Research investigated factors that influence OHV use on legacy seismic lines to assist in reclamation prioritization. FRI first wanted to test if OHV use increases with proximity to towns. To test this prediction they developed a raster-based tool to calculate the travel distance from a town to a seismic line. Learn more about this tool here or contact Julie Duval for more information. Using this tool, researchers were able to rule out proximity to towns as a factor influencing OHV use and focus on topographic and vegetative factors. Researchers found that OHV users avoid areas of wet saturated soils and prefer dry lines with low (<2.4m) vegetation.  Read the full study here.

A decade of greenhouse gas fluxes in a boreal rich fen

University of Alberta's Catchment and Wetland Sciences Research Group (CAWS) lead research projects that focus on the impacts of disturbance and land management on catchment and wetland functions. The Alaska Peatland Experiment (APEX) began in 2005 as a long-term collaborative study to examine the potential effects of climate change on peatland greenhouse gas exchange. This study measured growing season methane emissions, ecosystem respiration, net ecosystem exchange and gross primary production fluxes in response to water table position in a boreal rich fen. Researchers used drainage ditches to control the water table position. Results of the study support previous findings such as those by Aurela et al. (2009) that drought reduces a wetland's ability to sequester carbon. In Canada’s boreal, industry activities, such as roads, that have the potential to alter water table position may have similar consequences for greenhouse gas exchange. Best management practices can help planners and operators design and build roads that minimize changes to the water table. Understanding the potential impacts of roads and other industry activities on greenhouse gas exchange is a current knowledge gap; however, it is one that some groups are working to fill. As well, learnings from studies like APEX can help fill these gaps by providing information about how boreal wetlands respond to natural changes in the water table View the APEX abstract here.

Wetland monitoring in Canada's oil sands region

Wetlands are abundant in Canada’s oil sands region and support biodiversity, flora and fauna habitat, clean water, and recreation activities. With rapid industrial development, various agencies have expressed an interest in developing and implementing a wetland monitoring program in the oil sands region. The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) along with other stakeholders are pursuing the development of a regional wetland monitoring program.  Their objectives are to determine how to measure cumulative effects of natural and anthropogenic drivers (e.g. water loss through drainage) as well as to detect changes that result from anthropogenic activities. To effectively implement a wetland management program it is important to understand the status of an area's wetland resources, this can be achieved through wetland monitoring. Drivers, stressors, and indicators of wetland change in Alberta’s oil sands region compiles variables (e.g. road density) and indicators (e.g. surface water runoff) for a potential wetland monitoring program designed to detect cumulative impacts and provide recommendations for moving forward.  View the full report here.

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

In the news

Did you know?

Resource roads through wetlands are common across Canada's boreal forest and require special design considerations to maintain road integrity and safety, minimize maintenance costs, and maintain wetland hydrology. When planning to construct a resource road through a wetland it is important to consider:

- the type of wetland 
- the type of water movement
- the season & duration of use

Planners can use this information for road design and construction to ensure that resource roads in wetlands function at the required design and performance level and minimize impacts on the flow characteristics of wetlands.

Check out some resources to assist in building resource roads in boreal wetlands:

Resource Roads and Wetlands: A Guide for Planning

Operational Guide: Forest Road Wetland Crossings

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