What are wetlands?
Wetlands are lands that are seasonally or permanently covered by shallow water, as well as lands where the water table is close to or at the surface. They directly contribute to the hydrological function of a watershed through connection with a surface watercourse. Due to the presence of abundant water, wetlands have caused the formation of hydric soils (permanently or seasonally saturated by water) and has favoured the dominance of either hydrophytic (water loving) plants or water tolerant plants.
Please note that wetlands do not include periodically soaked or wetland that is used for agricultural purposes and no longer contains hydric soils nor hydrophytic or water tolerant vegetation. The four major types of wetlands are swamps, marshes, bogs, and fens.
Why are they important?
Wetlands have a number of ecological and human values. From an ecosystem, perspective benefits include sustaining biodiversity, wildlife habitat, habitat for species at risk, and maintenance of natural cycles (carbon, water). From a human perspective, wetlands provide social and economic values such as flood attenuation (by holding back and storing floodwater), recreation opportunities, production of valuable products, improvement of water quality (by naturally trapping sediment and other contaminants), and educational benefits.
Can I develop in or near a wetland?
'Development' is defined as:
- the construction, reconstruction, erection, or placing of a building or structure of any kind;
- any change to a building or structure that would have the effect of altering the use or potential use of the building or structure, increasing the size of the building or structure, or increasing the number of dwelling units in the building or structure;
- site grading; or,
- the temporary or permanent placing, dumping, or removal of any material, originating on the site or elsewhere.
Development within or adjacent to a wetland requires the permission of Conservation Sudbury. To understand what may be possible, please review "Direction on the Administration of Ontario Regulation 156/06 - Wetlands", an approved guideline that provides clarity to landowners, developers, and Conservation Sudbury staff regarding development within or adjacent to wetlands.
If you are unsure if there is a wetland on or near your property, or if you are unsure if your project is considered 'development' please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the following information:
- A brief description of the proposed project and location on the property and ONE of the following:
- The municipal address: OR,
- the property identification number (PIN); OR,
- The roll number.
Please note that Conservation Sudbury staff can provide guidance but in some cases, a qualified wetland specialist may need to be hired by the proponent to assess the wetland.
Read the guidelines document here