They reduce flooding, filter waste and replenish drinking water, just to name a few. Those are some of the benefits of wetlands, which the Muskoka Watershed Council says are growing more crucial as the global population continues to rise.

World Wetlands Day is coming up on February 2nd, which raises awareness about the importance of the ecosystem. MWC says a lot of people think of wetlands as a place to dump garbage, fill in, or convert to other uses. To try and counteract that belief, the theme for this year’s wetlands day is  Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future. MWC says urban wetlands make cities livable and should be included in future planning and development. 

In Muskoka, MWC says wetland loss is generally small and cumulative, mainly happening in urban areas. Development is generally only allowed outside defined wetland areas, but MWC says they are still vulnerable to degradation and loss due to development. Some ways to protect wetlands in Muskoka include involving the community in wetland planning, organize community wetland clean-ups, and reduce excessive water consumption. 

You can read more about caring for wetlands on your property on the Muskoka Watershed Council website.