• This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A wetland is an ecosystem flooded by water, either permanently or seasonally.  Flooding results in oxygen-free (anoxic) processes prevailing in the soils.  A marsh is a wetland.  It is dominated by herbaceous rather than woody plant species.  Marshes can often be found at the edges of lakes and streams, where they form a transition between the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Freshwater marshes make up the most common form of wetland in North America

Fifty years ago, nations gathered for the world’s first global call to action to conserve rapidly disappearing wetland habitats, including marshland.  To stop their worldwide loss, the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance was adopted in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971.  Canada is one of 171 countries who are party to the Ramsar Convention, with 37 Canadian sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry uses a comprehensive Ontario Wetland Evaluation System, a science-based ranking system that provides a standardized approach to determining the relative value of wetlands and to identify some as high value class 1 wetlands, commonly referred to as Provincially Significant Wetlands. Cooper Marsh in South Glengarry is such a wetland. 

The Official Plan for the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry, reads in part: “It is a policy to conserve and protect wetlands, for their respective ecological functions or natural features … development and/or site alteration will not be permitted in a Provincially Significant Wetland.

A section of The Corporation of the Township of South Glengarry Zoning By-Laws reads:  “Any development, site alteration, changes in grading or drainage within a Provincially Significant Wetland Zone is prohibited unless written approval is received from the Municipality and the applicable Conservation Authority … and development or site alteration within 120 metres of a Provincially Significant Wetland Zone will be subject to studies as identified within the County Official Plan … if it can be demonstrated that there will be no negative impacts on the wetland’s natural features … development or site alteration can occur no less than 30 metres of the wetland boundary.”

Thus, the challenge has been recognized at all levels of government, from the international community to the national, provincial, and municipal levels in Canada.  All have recognized and put into place regulations which recognize the value and importance of wetlands, along with the need to preserve and protect them.

We know it has become apparent that the numbers of many songbirds, shorebirds, raptors and waterfowl and species of turtles and frogs have plummeted. Some local animals are threatened with extinction. A recent avian study collating decades of data revealed that nearly a third of all birds - three billion creatures - have vanished from North America in the last 30 years.  Major contributors to this decline include commercial developments on and near marshland, plus agricultural and municipal sprawl. These activities have replaced marshes crucial for the breeding and wintering habitats of turtles and frogs and the habitats of breeding and migrating birds.

Consequently, Citizens for Marshland Conservation Inc. has embarked on a mission to preserve and protect rich and diverse marshland habitats and bring this to the attention of people both young and adult by working with other Canadian registered charities, organizations, local governments, and owners of marshlands. We will educate the public and those who control marshlands, to foster a call to action to conserve these rapidly disappearing habitats and their unique wildlife.