Wetland Mapping & Conservation Efforts in the Fort Nelson area


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Presentation made by Kevin Smith at Keepers of the Water VI in Fort Nelson, BC. Kevin Smith is from Ducks Unlimited.

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Wetland Mapping & Conservation Efforts in the Fort Nelson area

  1. 1. An Overview of Wetland Mapping andConservation Efforts in the Ft. Nelson Area Keepers of the Water Conference September 29, 2012 Kevin Smith Ducks Unlimited Canada
  2. 2. Presentation Overview• Boreal Wetlands and Waterfowl• Need for Information• Wetland Inventory• Conservation Products
  3. 3. What is a Wetland?... areas which are seasonally or permanently waterlogged... characterized by vegetation that is adapted for life in saturated / flooded soil conditions... wetlands can be treed, shrubby TREED Ric h Fe n Rich Fen Treed Classes or open Rich Fen H yd R S ro e g S ta lo M d im R gn yn e w ov an am in m t g ic e M M e sic ov in g Sub- h yg ric Bogs M o is tu re R e g im e D yn H yg ric am Sw am ps ic Sub- Fens h yd ric H yd ric V M a rs h e s D er m i yn y c a V e ry H yd ric O p e n W a te r V e ry P o o r Poor M e d iu m R ich V e ry R ich E xce ss A wetland is land where the water table is at, near or above the surface or which is N u trie n t R e g im e saturated for a long enough period to promote such features as wet-altered soils and Treed Rich Fen Indicators: water-tolerant vegetation (NWWG, 1988) Shrubs < 2m (Bog birch, Sweet Gale, willow) Rich Fen Indicators (Buckbean, Wire Sedge) Sphagnum <20% 60% Tree Cover > 25% <
  4. 4. Wetland Abundance• Wetlands make up 6% of the Earth (EnvCan, 2007)• Canada has 25% of the world’s wetlands (NRCAN, 2007)• Wetlands cover 14% of Canada. (NRCAN, 2007)• Most of Canada’s wetlands (>85%) are in the boreal forest. (Wetlands of Canada, 1988)
  5. 5. Wetland Density
  6. 6. Wetland Diversity
  7. 7. Wetland ValuesEcosystem services – Natural Capital - Climate regulation Water storage and flood control – Water filtration – Transportation of nutrients – Biodiversity values; homes and food for plants, fish and wildlife • Including species at risk (e.g. caribou, scoter and scaup)Economic Benefits• Market Goods – Timber – Peat (horticulture, energy) – Wildrice – Fish – Fur industry• Societal Benefits – Places for recreational and traditional activities
  8. 8. North American Flyways 70% of waterfowl breed in Canada. On average, about 26 million ducks breed in Canada annually.
  9. 9. Key Concerns• Impacts on hydrology through industrial development – Roads, wellpads, pipelines, seismic• Cumulative effects of disturbance – Fragmentation – Habitat loss – Functional loss – Increased predation
  10. 10. Boreal Forest Near Whitecourt, Alberta
  11. 11. Local Population TrendsStrong negative signalwhere most disturbed
  12. 12. DUC’s Conservation Objectives Identify key wetland systems important to waterbirds Determine effect of resource development on wetlands Work with industry and government on policies, programs and practices that maintain wetlands and waterfowlPartnerships are critical to these objectives
  13. 13. DU Approach to Conservation• Increasing understanding and awareness – Understanding policies & industry drivers – Filling knowledge gaps – Conducting science-based research and inventory – Communication and education outreach• Collaborative, partnership-based approach – Understanding needs of multiple stakeholders – Determining common goals – Influence land use decisions, policies, and practices• Adaptive management approach – Use the best information available to move forward and adapt as new information becomes available
  14. 14. Enhanced Wetland Classification• What are we mapping? – Development of a regional-based Boreal Wetland Classification System • No existing wetland classifications applicable to boreal – Decision Hierarchy/Classification Scheme• How Do We Map Wetlands? – New technologies used to map wetlands at a regional scale Photo Copyright Gary Kramer
  15. 15. Boreal Wetland Mapping
  16. 16. Enhanced Wetland Classification Satellite Imagery Spectral Features – Basis for Classification Image Interpretation – complete view of project area Automation of classification Ancillary Datasets Model Spectral ConfusionKnowledge Develop understanding of subsurface Base controls on wetlands Variable Availability Field Data Collection *Image analyst first person perspective* High resolution training and accuracy datasets Incorporation of ecological understanding of processes that control wetland type/distribution
  17. 17. Methodology Satellite Imagery Pan SharpeningKnowledge Base Imagery Interpretation Tassled Cap/Ratios Ancillary Data PCA Multi-resolution Classification Segmentation Masking Techniques Membership Functions Segmentation Supervised Classification Manual Classification Field Dataset Training Data Wetland ClassificationAccuracy Data Accuracy Assessment
  18. 18. Enhanced Wetland Classification
  19. 19. Wetland Mapping Status
  20. 20. Northeastern BC Mapping Taiga Plain region complete Boreal Plain region to be completed Spring 2013
  21. 21. Ft Nelson Project Wetlands Wetlands Composition of Project Area Upland, 25.2% Swamp, 23.0%Fen, 27.3% Bog, 21.9% Marsh, 0.3% Open Water, 2.3%
  22. 22. Conservation Solutions• Increasing knowledge around boreal wetlands – Field Guide to Wetlands – Wetlands Training – Wetlands 101 – Wetland Fact Sheets – Development of Operational Field Guides (Dos and Donts)
  23. 23. Boreal Wetlands Factsheets
  24. 24. Current Conservation Solution Initiatives• Criteria for and mapping of important wetlands for waterfowl and other ecological values• Mapping Trumpeter Swan wetlands• Assessment of Current Industrial Practices and Guidelines (wetland/wildlife) – Roads (location, construction) – Habitat protection elements
  25. 25. Conservation Planning
  26. 26. Caribou Habitat Modeling
  27. 27. Wetland Loss