Restore a Wetland, Create Beautiful Habitat
Do you want to increase natural biodiversity in your community? Restoring a wetland on your land or school is a great way to steward British Columbia’s natural spaces and protect the province’s fish, wildlife and habitat for future generations.
Partnering with a conservation organization like B.C. Wildlife Federation can transform your vision of a wetland restoration into reality. Below, you’ll find information on restoring wetlands, including why wetlands are important, if your site is a good candidate for restoration, resources for landowners, and more.
Why Should We Restore Wetlands?
Wetlands are an integral part of British Columbia’s landscape. These ecosystems have countless benefits; they can purify water, control floods, mitigate climate change, provide wildlife habitat, and more. Unfortunately, wetlands are disappearing from our landscape. Over the last century, many wetlands across Canada have been degraded or entirely destroyed, especially in populated areas.
Since much wetland habitat is under private ownership, landowners have a unique opportunity to steward the province’s natural spaces and maintain their value for future generations.
Is Your Site a Candidate for Restoration?
Before restoring wetlands on your site, you should determine its restoration potential with a few questions:
- Were there wetlands on your site previously?
- Is there any evidence of historic draining such as ditches or underground drainage pipes?
- Does your site have water at the surface? If not, you can dig a small hole to see if water is near the surface.
- Are there clays in the soil? If so, you should be able to make a thin soil ribbon greater than 2 inches long. Clay soil can be modified to capture surface water.
- Is there healthy upland habitat adjacent to the site?
- Are there risks to neighbours or infrastructure on your property if you create a wetland?
Wetland Restoration Techniques
If your site is a candidate, then you should be able to create a natural-looking, low-cost wetland with one of the following techniques:
Groundwater: Exposing groundwater by removing or shifting soils. This technique does not require clay soils.
Surface Water: By creating groundwater barriers (underground dams with clay), you can hold water back to create a wetland slope.
Liner: If your water table is too deep, you may need to use a liner. If there is clay on site, you can make a natural liner to retain water. Otherwise, you will need to use an artificial liner.
I'm ready to restore a wetland.
What do I have to do?
Wetland restoration projects are typically completed at little cost to the landowner, thanks to financial support from generous sponsors. We recommend that before you restore wetlands on your property, you attend a wetlands training event like the Wetlands Institute. Additionally, restoring wetlands do take some work. As a landowner or site manager, you would be expected to:
- Sign an agreement that confirms your intent to protect the wetland. Agreements gave various levels of commitment to suit your needs and help assure partnering organizations that their investment in nature is more secure.
- Provide in-kind (volunteer) support throughout the restoration process (ex. helping plan the restoration or providing photos and updates).
- Maintain the site should the need arise (ex. removing invasive plants).
Connect with us for more information on restoring wetlands on private land!