Ecology of the Watershed
Wetlands play an integral role in the ecology of the watershed. The combination of shallow water, high levels of nutrients and primary productivity is ideal for the development of organisms that form the base of the food web and feed many species of fish, amphibians, shellfish and insects. Many species of birds and mammals rely on wetlands for food, water and shelter, especially during migration and breeding.
Improve Water Quality
Wetlands improve water quality by trapping sediments, filtering out pollutants and absorbing nutrients that would otherwise result in poor water quality for downstream users. They may also be linked to groundwater resources. Wetlands function as natural sponges that trap and slowly release surface water, rain, snowmelt, groundwater and flood waters. Trees, root mats and other wetland vegetation also slow the speed of flood waters and distribute them more slowly over the floodplain. This combined water storage an braking action lowers flood heights and reduces erosion.
Moderate Global Climate Conditions
Wetlands’ microbes, plants and wildlife are part of global cycles for water, nitrogen and sulfur. Scientists now know that atmospheric maintenance may be an additional wetlands function. Wetlands store carbon within their plant communities and soil instead of releasing it to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Thus wetlands help to moderate global climate conditions.
Wetlands within and downstream of urban areas are particularly valuable, counteracting the greatly increased rate and volume of surface – water runoff from pavement and buildings. The holding capacity of wetlands helps control floods and prevents water logging of crops.
MNR Site Visit Finds Rich Natural Habitat
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources came out to view our grounds last summer. They were very satisfied with what they saw in the wetlands at the park. The following is a Marsh Plant List of species identified by the MNR in the Blue Heron Trailer Park wetlands as a very rich natural habitat.
Marsh Plant List
- Pickerel weed
- Broad leaved Arrowhead.
- Purple Loosestrife
- Green Bulrush
- Broad-Leaved Cattail
- Narrow-Leaved Cattail
- Yellow Buttercup
- Wild Carrot
- Goldenrod Species
- Reed Canary Grass
- Sedge Species
- Red Clover
- American Water Willow
- Bird’s Foot Trefoil
- Wild Mint
- Burr Reed
- Smartweed Species
- White Water Lily
- Common Mea Bone
- Hedge Bindweed
- Meadow Sweet
Fact: Marshes are wetlands that are almost always flooded and are characterized by a mixture of cattails, reeds and other aquatic vegetation. Ninety percent of the wetlands located in Great Lakes coastal areas are marshes.
Protect and Restore Aquatic Habitat
Ontario’s federal, municipal and community partners are working collaboratively to protect and restore aquatic habitat and improve water quality in the North Shore of Lake Erie. Achievements include acquiring wetland habitat to ensure its protection, restoring degraded wetland habitat, decommissioning a sewage lagoon and restoring it to natural wetlands, monitoring the use of reconnected aquatic habitats by fish and wildlife, and controlling invasive Phragmites (common reed, a non-native plant).
Please visit Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy 2016 Progress Report to find about more about how we are improving water quality and our environment.
Value to Blue Heron Campground Guests
Wetlands provide values that no other ecosystem can. These include natural water quality improvement, flood protection, shoreline erosion control, opportunities for recreation and aesthetic appreciation and natural products for our use at no cost. Protecting wetlands can protect our safety and welfare.
Guests of the trailer park have a direct benefit from the surrounding wetlands. The campgrounds and the wetlands exist happily together and provide a sense of serenity for all who live in the park. The greatest value is knowing how important the wetlands are to our environment and being able to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings.