In honour of World Wetlands Day on February 2, let’s pay tribute to vernal pools. Due to their small size and transient nature, vernal pools are a type of wetland that is easily overlooked. While brimming with water in spring, they may be nothing more than a dry, isolated, depression on the forest floor by summer.
Category: Wetlands (Page 1 of 2)
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End date: Nov 16, 2016
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Prior to the 2014 provincial election, Premier Kathleen Wynne pledged to reverse wetland loss by 2025. Accordingly, the Province has proposed a new wetland conservation strategy, which is open for public comment until November 16, 2016. The strategy, however, is not up to the task of protecting and recovering Ontario’s wetlands. Given weak overall targets, loose commitments and the failure to earmark areas for government investment, it is a recipe for inaction and delay.
The overarching target of the proposed strategy is to achieve no net loss of wetlands by 2030. This means accepting ongoing wetland loss for the next 14 years. This target is woefully short of the Premier’s pledge. Considering the immense value of wetlands, the history of loss and the urgent need to protect them this is nothing short of ridiculous.
It seems like wetlands still can’t get any respect from many municipal politicians in Southern Ontario. A case in point: The Town of Georgina in York Region is bending over backward to ensure 30-year-old development approvals for a mobile home park that would destroy a provincially significant wetland are not extinguished.
The perk of being in conservation is the amount of time I spend outdoors. I had the pleasure of visiting 15 of Ontario Nature’s 25 nature reserves this summer. These pockets of wilderness across Ontario are special habitats that we manage and protect. Conservation staff hosted 12 events on our nature reserves, reaching over 300 people!
After a warm winter and chilly start to spring, I joined my Ontario Nature co-workers at Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Reserve for a good old-fashioned salamander sleuthing event, our first of the season. The Altberg reserve is a tranquil property that has great trails and several vernal pools that are home to a variety of species, including fairy shrimp. Throughout the day we heard lots of woodpeckers and saw evidence of moose on the reserve.
What better day to celebrate vernal pools than March 21st – the International Day of Forests. Vernal pools are those temporary spring flooded areas in your forests. They are known by many names – ephemeral pools, intermittent wetlands, spring wetlands – but whatever you do, don’t call them a puddle!
The momentum that’s building around growing the Greenbelt (#GrowOurGB) couldn’t come at a better time. The provincial government is currently discussing where and by how much our Greenbelt will grow.
Last week, I attended a meeting in Barrie where 150+ people had gathered to discuss Greenbelt growth in Simcoe County. The event, Bluebelt/Greenbelt: Simcoe’s Watershed Moment had a palpable energy as the newly formed Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition brought together community members, local experts, farmers and elected officials representing all levels of government. The motivating discussion focused on how the Greenbelt can help protect valuable water resources – a unifying issue for a community that is so deeply connected to Lake Simcoe.