World Wetlands Day! February 2
Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction
February 2 heralds both the groundhog day and World Wetlands Day! World Wetlands Day was declared as February 2 by RAMSAR. “Canada is the only country in the world that has selected a wetland engineer as its national animal. We need to ensure that wetlands are better represented in the places we protect in the future. Wetlands are places of immense biological importance that also support our economy and well-being. “Kraus
The West Swale Wetlands in the City of Saskatoon are of extreme importance in mitigating drought in flood in the Municipal City of Saskatoon, neighbourhood of Montgomery Place, hamlet of Cedar Villa Estates and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park 344. “Wetlands act as a natural sponge, absorbing and storing excess rainfall and reducing flooding. During the dry season, they release the water stored, delaying the onset of droughts and reducing water shortages.” Muskoka Watershed Council
The West Swale Wetlands are vitally important, as they are a main lowlands channel between the North Saskatchewan River through Rice Lake, the Afforestation Area formely known as George Genereux Park , the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, Chappell Marsh Conservation Area having the confluence in the South Saskatchewan River at Maple Grove.
“Water is essential to life and socio-economic development.” Page v What is needed is an reliable water source with suitable water quality. “Riparian forest buffer systems (RFBS) are streamside ecosystems managed for the enhancement of water quality through control of nonpoint source pollution (NPS) and protection of the stream environment. The use of riparian management zones is relatively well established as a best management practice (BMP) for water quality improvement in forestry practices…Riparian ecosystems are connected to aquatic ecosystems through the hyporheic zone. (age 687 Lowrance
The Prairie Eco-zone locates bedrock aquifers laying beneath the basal aquitard of the Precambrian and Paleozoic rocks. “Aquifers (waterbearing zones) are defined as saturated geological units which have sufficient permeability to yield economic quantities of water to a water supply well. Aquitards are units which, though saturated, do not yield sufficient water to a water supply well.” Maathius Page 127. The aquifers are contained within Cretaceous shale. The Tyner Valley aquifer along with other buried valleys reside on top of the bedrock and are invaluable for groundwater supply.
The Judith River Formation formed in the Late Cretaceous is also called the Belly River formation. This formation has fine to medium grained sands, silts and clays deposited in a deltaic environment. The water supply of the Judith River is invaluable to agricultural, municipal and industrial users. “Potable water is only found in and above the Judith River formation since water in the older formations is too salty for human or animal consumption.” (Maathius page 127.) Surface precipitation flows from the surface of the land into the Judith River Formation, and from this aquifer the waters flow into the Tyner Valley aquifer. The Tyner Valley aquifer has its confluence with the Battleford Valley aquifer, which thence flows into the North Saskatchewan River. The Tyner Valley aquifer is a major pre-glacial chert and quarzite gravel aquifer overlain with sands from the Empress group. The Tyner Valley Aquifer is a major aquifer system. These bedrock aquifers are capable of producing more than 200 gallons per minute gpm) from an individual well.
In Saskatchewan years of drought and high water tables are cyclical. During years of drought, groundwater is looked upon to help sustain the water supply. “Movement within and recharge of the Judith River Aquifer is limited by the highly impermeable shale that lies above this aquifer. “~Prairie Provinces Water Board. Attention to the recharge of the aquifers enhances the best management policies. “The low hydraulic conductivity of thick till and bedrock aquitards limits the rechard to deeper aquifers.” Maathuis page v. Deep aquifers show increasing rechard through the months of October and March. A shallow or surficial aquifer will show an increase in water coinciding with spring meltwaters and summer rains.
“In Saskatchewan approximately 45% of the population relies on groundwater as a source of drinking water .” (page v) Additionally groundwater is also useful for agricultural irrigation, and industrial purposes.
The Meewasin Valley Authority explains that in regards to low lying areas such as a swale, they offer “high quality biodiversity, proximity to urban areas, economic benefits for recreation and education and a natural filter for our air and water. The swale contains wetlands that provide a means of flood control for the surrounding community.”
“Evidence shows that wetlands mitigate some natural disasters and lower the risks for people: first, by reducing the immediate physical impacts and second, by helping people survive and recover in the aftermath. “The Conversation The Meewasin Valley Authority manages the wetlands and afforested areas east of the wetlands located in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, along with the owners of the land, the City of Saskatoon. They have worked together in partnership honouring the 1972 city council acclamation to “preserve in perpetuity” the 660 acres of afforestation areas.
Alongside the dedication of the afforestation areas as parks in 1979, the City of Saskatoon implemented a Growth Management Strategy with objectives, goals and priorities …resulting in specific community plans, programs, policies and actions which will control and channel all development to satisfy special local community requirements. The absence of such plans …is usually followed by uncontrolled, unplanned, meaningless urban sprawl, unsightliness, rapid rises in real estate values, rampant speculation, and all the associated socio-economic ills which cause social unrest and dissatisfaction, physical decay and detioration of the urban fabric.File No. C. 17-10-1 This program has moved forward as Shaping Saskatoon and Saskatoon Speaks.
World Wetlands Day serves to raise public awareness and impress upon everyone the need and imperative for a healthy wetlands. “most of us are largely unaware of how wetlands safeguard us. In fact, we often see wetlands as wasteland; something to be filled in or converted to other uses. Scientists estimate that at least 64 per cent of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900.”Muskoka Watershed Council Things you can do for your wetlands!.
Following in the footsteps of the 2015 community clean up, three times in 2016 community volunteers rallied together to clean the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, situated in the low lying area of the West Swale. Not only did the riparian forests and ecosystem benefit from the clean up efforts, but so did the wetlands of the West Swale. “With 71 per cent of our planet covered in water, it makes sense to focus on the health of our waterways” on World Wetlands Day.Fong
Karla Guyn, CEO for Ducks Unlimited Canada, “Canada is home to 25 per cent of the world’s wetlands. This is both a privilege and responsibility. World Wetlands Day reminds all Canadians of the critical role they play in our lives and the need to conserve them.” Water Canada
What can you do personally?
- Visit a wetlands
- Find out more about our wetlands in Saskatoon – the West Swale Wetlands, the Northeast Swale, Richardson Ravine, Beaver Creek
- Enter the photo competition
- Take a walk with the birds in the West Swale Wetlands with a guide book in hand.
- Initiate a volunteer clean up of the Afforestation Area formerly known as the George Genereux Park (in the west swale wetlands)
- Contact your city or RM councillor, the RM of Corman Park 344, an environmental or green group, the city of Saskatoon and the MVA about the importance of wetlands.
“When the trees go, the rain goes, the climate
deteriorates, the water table sinks, the land erodes and desert conditions soon appear.” ~Richard St. Barbe Baker. 1954
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Clean ups
Akatay, Jane. World Wetlands Day: a fragile habitat for Fethiye’s feathered friends. Fethitye times. February 2, 2017
Celebrating World Wetlands Day in Canada Water Canada.
Christiansen, E.A., W.A. Menseley and S.H. Whitaker. Groundwater in Southern Saskatchewan. Atlas of Saskatchewan. Editor K.I. Fung. Page 68. Modern Press. 1969.
Christiansen, E.A. and B.J. Schmid. Galcial geology of Southern Saskatchewan – University of Saskatchewan.
City of Saskatoon. Section C General Administration and Finance. Growth Management Strategy. File No. C. 17-10-1. January 2, 1979.
Dunn, Christian. World Wetlands Day Highlights Importance of Vital Habitats. February 2, 2017.
Goal 2: Protect Interprovincial Groundwater Aquifers Prairie Provinces Water Board (PPWB)
Current Knowledge Saskatchewan Research Council. SRC Publication No. 11304-2E00. April 2000.
Fong, Jean. Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup Asks Canadians to Do Their Part on Earth Day and Beyond Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup
Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup
Guide for World Wetlands Day 2 February. Wetlands for Disaster Risk Prevention. From 2 February 2017 to 2 March 2017. young people between the ages of 18 – 25 years are invited to participate in a photo contest for a chance to win a free flight to visit a Wetland of International Importance!
It’s World Wetlands Day: Muskoka Watershed Council on the importance of wetlands for disaster risk reduction Muskoka Watershed Council. Doppler online.
Kraus, Dan. Why Canada Matters on World Wetlands Day. Huffington Post. February 1, 2017
Layout 1 Meewasin Northeast Swale Brochure for Web. Meewasin Valley Authority.
Lowrance, Richard et al. Water quality functions of Riparian Forest Buffers in Chesapeake Bay Watersheds. Springer-Verlag New York Inc. Environmental Management Vol 21. No. 5 pp 687-712.
Maathuis, Harm. Groundwater in Southern Saskatchewan. Atlas of Saskatchewan. Celebrating the Millennium Edition. Page 127-128. Editor Ka-iu Fung. 1999. University of Saskatchewan. ISBN 0-88880-387-7.
Maathuls, H. The quality of Natural Groundwaters in Saskatchewan. Prepared for Saskatchewan Watershed Authority.
Meewasin Northeast Swale Meewasin Valley Authority
Padbury, G.A., Donald F. Acton, Colette T. Stushnoff. Ecoregions of Saskatchewan Canadian Plains Research Centre. Compiled by Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management
University of Regina Press, 1998
ISBN 0889770972, 9780889770973
Violata, Annalyn. Wetlands helping reduce the risk of disasters. SBS Your Language.
Wetlands: Why we need to take care of them, what can we do? Zee Media Bureau. February 2, 2017
World Wetlands Day. TimeandDate.com
World Wetlands Day RAMSAR
World Wetlands Day IWMI. International Water Management Institute.
World Wetlands Day. Wildlife Preservation Canada.
World Wetlands Day. Nature Conservancy Canada
World Wetlands Day Wikipedia.
World Wetlands Day. Republic of South Africa. Department of Environmental Affairs 2017 .
Wetlands: Why we need to take care of them, what can we do? Zee Media Bureau. February 3, 2017
For more information:
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
Contact the Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The MVA has begun a Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund. If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)”. Please and thank you!
“Man has lost his way in the jungle of chemistry and engineering and will have to retrace his steps, however painful this may be. He will have to discover where he went wrong and make his peace with nature. In so doing, perhaps he may be able to recapture the rhythm of life and the love of the simple things of life, which will be an ever-unfolding joy to him.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker