Currently, EKOS Communications is in early development to produce a short documentary on the tragic loss of wetlands within the Lake Winnipeg Basin.
The destruction of wetlands in this watershed is staggering. In southwestern Manitoba, Ducks Unlimited Canada estimates the rate of loss to be an estimated six hectares a day, that’s equivalent to eleven football fields. As a consequence, more than 69% of the provinces wetlands (marshes, swamps, ponds, small lakes) have been plowed under or seriously degraded.
The picture is equally grim in Saskatchewan, Alberta, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Why should this loss be of concern and to who? It should be a major concern to everyone living in the watershed for a whole lot of reasons. Wetlands are sometimes called “kidneys of the landscape” because they trap sediment and filter out pollutants such as phosphates and nitrates which can make well water unfit to drink and cause massive blooms of potentially toxin algae in lakes downstream.
Wetlands also act like sponges, soaking up excess run-off from spring melts or summer deluges. One of the most profound benefits of this free ecological service is the reduction of downstream flooding – a realization being driven home by the unprecedented overland flooding that inundated communities in southern eastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba this past July.
The economic impacts arising from the destruction of wetlands now threaten to cancel out any of the gains made by plowing them under. The price tag for the July floods in Manitoba was estimated at approximately to 3 billion dollars.
The loss of wetlands is not unique to the Lake Winnipeg Basin. Over 50% of the planet’s wetlands have been destroyed in the last century. At the recent Wetlands International Conference (Sept, 25, 2014) in the Netherlands, a call arose for a new wetland narrative. Investment in wetlands is not a luxury; it is a necessity.
The video that EKOS Communications would like to produce would assist with shifting this narrative by making a strong business case for investment in protecting and restoring wetlands embedded within a compelling call to action directed primarily at agricultural producers and governments throughout the Lake Winnipeg Basin.