Great Lakes Ontario Wetlands

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Climate Change in Ontario
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Climate Change Impacts:
Wetlands and Shorebirds

Earlier spring runoff, more intense flooding, and lower summer water levels generally translate into growing challenges for Ontario bogs and wetlands and the species that depend on them. Development and agriculture have already reduced wetland habitat significantly. Combined with the increasing pressures of climate change, the services wetland ecosystems provide—such as water purification and flood control—stand to be degraded. Among the potential impacts of climate change with implications for wetlands and shorebirds in Ontario are:

  • A Reduction of Flood-Absorbing Capacity
    The combined pressures of development and climate change will degrade the flood-absorbing capacity of wetlands and floodplains. This could lead to increased erosion, additional water pollution, and delayed recovery from acid rain.

  • A Loss of Habitat and Breeding Sites
    Sandhill CraneWetland loss and changes in flood pulses will likely reduce safe breeding sites for amphibians, migratory shorebirds, and some waterfowl such as canvasbacks. In addition, these changes may cause many migratory species, such as Canada geese to winter further north. New wetlands, however, may be created along lake edges as water levels drop.

Sandbanks Provincial Park

Photo Credits:
White Trillium -- Ohio Department of Natural Rescources, Mike Williams and Tim Daniel.
Sandhill Crane -- Thomas A. Schneider (courtesy Michigan Travel Bureau).
Sandbanks Provincial Park -- Kim Elliot.
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