Forests, Fish and Wildlife
Wetland Conservation Policy
As is the case in areas throughout North America, clearing and drainage of land during and following settlement has resulted in an unknown loss of wetlands in Prince Edward Island over the past 350 years. Ducks Unlimited Canada has estimated that more than half of the coastal marshes in Atlantic Canada have been converted to other uses; 60 per cent of Ontario’s wetlands are gone; and 70 per cent of the wetlands on the Prairies have disappeared in the past 100 years. Many people do not appreciate the value of wetlands. As a result, wetlands continue to be lost.
The Province of Prince Edward Island adopted the Wetland Conservation Policy in 2003. In reviewing development proposals for impacts on wetlands, the policy of the Department of Agriculture and Forestry has been avoidance and minimization. Wetlands are to be avoided unless the project is in the greater public interest or impacts on public safety; and, in the rare case where the effects of development on a wetland cannot be avoided, potential negative impacts are to be minimized. The Wetland Conservation Policy formalizes that process and introduces the principles of compensation and no net loss. In those rare instances where a development that impacts on a wetland is approved, the proponent of the project must compensate for any loss of wetland area and wetland function.