Enhancing Water Balance Criteria to Protect Wetlands from Urban Stormwater and Climate Change
Wetlands are important habitats for many plant and animal species, and also provide valuable ecosystem services to society such as improving water quality and releasing groundwater into streams. While wetlands are often protected from development through the land use planning process in Ontario, development and land use change near wetlands can still alter the amount and timing of water flowing into and out of a wetland. This in turn can have negative effects on the plants and animals in the wetland and on the wetlands ability to provide ecosystem services, even where the wetland itself is theoretically protected. This project will help refine existing guidelines and tools used by staff at Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) to ensure that the design of new urban areas allows protected wetlands to continue to provide habitat and ecosystem services by maintaining the amount and timing of water reaching the wetland. The knowledge generated through this project will also be used to explore how climate change may affect wetlands in the Toronto region.