The Value of Wetlands (Video)

In Indian Head, Saskatchewan, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research scientist Raju Soolanayakanahally and his team are studying the benefits – to both the environment and producers – of wetlands and riparian areas. Learn about some of the benefits of wetlands and riparian areas in the prairie landscape.

Video Transcript

[Upbeat music begins]

[A montage begins with multiple aerial views of crop fields and prairie wetlands. Cut to two scientists walking across a crop field.]

[The title screen appears with a close-up image of a crop field.]

[Text on screen: The Value of Wetlands]

[Dr. Raju Soolanayakanahally talks to the camera.]

Dr. Raju Soolanayakanahally: Wetlands have a very important ecological role…

[An aerial view of a wetland.]

…and they have a big environmental footprint in a positive way, on the farms.

So, retaining them has a big impact with climate mitigation, moving forward.

[Text on screen: What are the environmental benefits of retaining wetlands?]

The wetlands contribute in a broad range...

[Overhead views of the prairie wetlands.]

...for a nature-based solution that deals with drought and flood mitigation, and it also includes some of the water purification on the landscape.

These wetlands are surrounded by a woody component called willow rings. There are 3 to 5 dominant willow species that kind of grow along the circumference of these wetlands, and they provide the pollinator habitat and small bird habitats for nesting and other activities.

[Text on screen: As a producer, what are the financial benefits of retaining wetlands?]

When we look here on the prairies, the financial benefits...

[An aerial view of multiple crop fields.]

...of retaining wetlands on the landscape is overcoming some of the climate disasters, such as, like, early snowmelt, leading to floods that delays the seeding for farmers...

[An overhead view of a crop field. The camera glides over the rows of crops.] well as when moisture is lacking with climate projections.

Spring floods can be managed very well when there are wetlands...

[A montage consisting of aerial views of crop fields with wetlands.]

...and as the season progresses into late July and August, these natural wetlands that act as ponds for storing water, make the water available for the crop.

[An overhead view of a crop field.]

[Text on screen: What are wetland willow rings?]

Within the wetland ecosystem...

[A close-up view of some branches, with a crop field in the background. Cut to a close-up view of willow shrubs surrounding a wetland pothole.]

...there are anywhere between 3 to 5 dominant willow species, and these are pioneer species that can surround the wetlands in a ring form.

[An aerial view of a wetland surrounded by willow species.]

That's why they are defined as wetland willow rings.

By planting them around wetlands...

[An aerial view of wetlands scattered around crop fields.] retain some of the functions like any pesticide runoff, and then they intercept and utilize nutrient rich water to produce huge biomass at a very rapid pace.

[A close-up view of a crop field.]

[Text on screen: Where can producers learn more about managing their wetlands?]

Ducks Unlimited has done a very good job of like, what are the ecological, environmental, economical importance...

[An aerial view of wetlands scattered around crop fields.]

...of retaining wetlands on the agriculture landscape, and their website provides some of the information.

And here at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

[A close-up view of an AAFC sign in some shrubs which reads 'E10540 Planted Spring 2018'. Cut to Dr. Raju Soolanayakanahally and a colleague, working amongst some bushes. Cut to an image of a tractor parked in front of a crop field.]

...we have done a lot of work on how to plant the wetlands and how to harvest and retain the ecological functions...

[An aerial view of crop fields with wetlands.]

...and some of that information will be made available by next spring to the farmers through our fact sheets and brochures.

[Music ends]

[Text on screen: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada – Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada]

[Government of Canada wordmark]