Connecting Waterpeople

You are here

Stormwater management ponds may not hold the solution for depleting wetlands

  • Stormwater management ponds may not hold the solution for depleting wetlands
  • Researchers recommend that protections be strengthened for wetlands of all sizes.

About the entity

University of Waterloo
Waterloo is at the forefront of innovation and is home to transformational research and inspired learning. Located in the heart of Canada's technology hub, we are growing a network of global partnerships that will shape the future.
Analytical Technology (ATi)

Relying on stormwater management (SWM) ponds to restore the depleting wetlands is not sustainable and lacks the critical ecosystem services vital for biodiversity, a new study found.

With the continued losses of wetlands projected in the near future and emphasis on the underestimation of provincial wetland loss, the study captures the contributions of SWM ponds in a changing network of water bodies and the effects of land use and land cover in this change.

Waterloo researchers led by Waverley Birch examined wetland loss, SWM pond creation and land use-based trends in seven southern Ontario municipalities within the most populated ecozones in Canada from 2002 to 2010 using a geographic information system.

“Wetland loss contributes to loss of ecosystem services in Ontario, with the likelihood of natural disasters such as droughts and floods becoming more common in urban areas,” Birch said.

For the years under study, the findings show that the total number of created SWM ponds was 1.6 times greater than the number of wetlands lost for all municipalities combined and that an overall rate of 0.13 per cent of wetland area was lost per year.

The researchers argue that wetland losses will continue with trends towards their replacement by SWM ponds

“This is concerning because of the low proportion of wetlands left in these areas and the fact that the average SWM pond was smaller than the average lost wetland, which poses a big environmental challenge,” Birch said.

The researchers argue that wetland losses will continue with trends towards their replacement by SWM ponds. They observed that losses are concentrated among wetlands that are generally not protected by provincial policies because of their small size.

“We recommend that protections be strengthened for wetlands of all sizes, in turn protecting communities by retaining the important ecosystem services that are vital for biodiversity as well as human health and wellbeing, which wetlands provide,” Birch said.

The study, authored by Waterloo’s Birch, Michael Drescher, Jeremy Pittman and Rebecca Rooney, was recently published in the Journal of Environmental Management.  

Subscribe to our newsletter

The data provided will be treated by iAgua Conocimiento, SL for the purpose of sending emails with updated information and occasionally on products and / or services of interest. For this we need you to check the following box to grant your consent. Remember that at any time you can exercise your rights of access, rectification and elimination of this data. You can consult all the additional and detailed information about Data Protection.

Featured news