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Issue 48 | June 2020

Monthly Webinar Series

Are you interested in giving a webinar on a wetland-related topic? We are always looking for presenters and would love for you to contact us.

We will be taking a break from hosting webinars over the summer months and will resume in September. In the meantime, check out recordings of our past webinars here.

Canadian Conservation and Land Management Knowledge Portal

The CCLM Knowledge Portal is a forum for sharing information and lessons learned about boreal caribou conservation, wetland best practices and land restoration and reclamation. 

Evapotranspiration in boreal peatlands

Boreal peatlands sequester and store immense amounts of carbon in water-logged soils. As the climate warms and peatland ecosystems become drier, these carbon stores are at risk of being lost. Climate models can be used to predict future climate and aid in predicting and planning for future states. Researchers however, have raised concerns that current models do not accurately account for evapotranspiration, the loss of water from the ecosystem to the air, in peatlands. To understand the effects of warming on boreal peatland evapotranspiration, Helbig et al. (2020) compared evapotranspiration levels in boreal forested uplands and boreal peatlands.  

Helbig et al. found that the rate of evapotranspiration in peatlands far exceeded that of forested uplands, in part due to differences in the vegetation present. Mosses dominate peatland groundcover and an increase in evapotranspiration can lead to a water level drawdown. This influence vegetation changes and the peatland's ability to store carbon. Helbig et al. highlight the importance of including hydrological and ecophysical characteristics specific to peatlands in climate models to more accurately predict future climate states. Learn more here

Global Water Futures: Futures for the World We Want Report

Canada contains 20% of the world's freshwater but is still faced with unprecedented water challenges with climate change resulting in accelerated glacier melting, changing precipitation events and increasing extreme weather events. Global Water Futures (GWF) is a research initiative that works to distinguish Canada as a global leader in cold climate water science. Currently, Canada lacks the scientific knowledge, monitoring and modelling technologies to predict future climate to ensure water security. GWF is working to fill these gaps and deliver risk management solutions to address current needs and predict future needs in Canada.   

GWF recently published Water Futures for the World We Want, a report summarizing the state of GWF including current and ongoing projects and models and data that have been developed and utilized across Canada. This report serves as a guide to GWF’s scientific efforts and an opportunity to identify new collaborations in research, policy and practice between researchers, their institutions and governments. GWF is undertaking a variety of projects from Indigenous co-led research including developing Indigenous informed frameworks for watershed monitoring and stewardship to more regional initiatives such as Boreal Water Futures. Read this report and learn about the full list of ongoing projects, models, data and tools from GWF here.  

Impacts of roads on tree and shrub productivity

Over 217,000 km of roads have been constructed across Canada’s boreal region. In wetlands, roads can act as a barrier to water movement, particularly when the road is constructed perpendicular to the direction of water flow. This damming effect can in turn influence vegetation composition on either side of the road. Despite this, few studies have examined the magnitude and direction of the vegetation shifts in peatland trees and shrubs as a result of road construction. To fill this gap Saraswati et al. (2020) examined the annual growth and aboveground productivity of woody species at a bog site and a fen site in boreal Alberta.   

Saraswati et al. determined that the road constructed parallel to the direction of water movement (fen site) resulted in few changes in vegetation, whereas the road constructed perpendicular to water flow (bog site) resulted in substantial changes in the woody vegetation present. Upstream of the road, the bog was inundated, had rapid tree mortality, and substantially lower annual growth. Downstream, drier conditions resulted in increased growth of woody vegetation in the first years following construction. This study highlights the importance of considering road orientation during the planning phases as roads constructed perpendicular to hydrologic flow may shift long-term carbon sinks into sources. Learn more 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. Your participation strengthens the Knowledge Exchange and helps promote information sharing among our many user groups. So please, get in touch

Participate in the Wetland BMP Knowledge Exchange by writing an article, giving a webinar, or sharing an interesting project and be entered to WIN a Ducks Unlimited Canada crossing sign. The draw will take place at the end of the year (December 2020)! 

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Upcoming events

For a full list of upcoming events, check out our Events Calendar!

Miistakis Institute Monday Webinars
May 25 - June 29, 2020

Global Water Futures Virtual Poster Session 
June 2020

AWC3 Spring 2020 Roadway Watercourse Crossing Webinar Series
April 21 - June 25, 2020

Take a look through our archive of past Wetland BMP Knowledge Exchange webinars

Interested in land-use planning? Check out a selection of online courses available here

In the News

While wandering a wetland, a frog’s song will tell you its story 

Whooping cranes need to socially distance too 

Low severity fires enhance long term retention of peatlands 

Bangor scientists turn damaged wetlands into carbon stores 

Łutsël K'é Dene First Nation wins international prize from United Nations 

New tool provides insight into how wetlands capture carbon 

Did you know?

Walking through a wetland during the spring and early summer you can hear the distinct songs of frogs and toads. The species you hear will depend on the area and time of year, some come out in early spring when ice still lie on ponds while others wait for warmer weather. 

Wood frogs are one of the first frogs to emerge in the spring and can be heard chuckling on the edges of swamps.  


As warmer weather approaches, keep your ears open for bull frogs and tree frogs.  

Bull frogs sound like someone blowing across the opening of a jug. Meanwhile, tree frogs will “reeep” from the trees above and are often mistaken for flycatchers. 

Did you know there are many species of tree frogs?  Unlike Bull frogs and wood frogs, tree frogs are actually a group of species defined as any species of frog that spends a major portion of its lifespan in trees. 

Learn more about frogs here and check out the USGS database of frog and toad calls here.   


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