Monday, November 1, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Vembanad Wetlands


Vembanad wetlands is one of the largest bodies of water in India. It is a complex aquatic system of 96 km. of coastal backwaters, lagoons, marshes, mangroves and reclaimed lands, interconnected with intricate networks of natural channels and man-made canals. 

The lake and wetlands are home to thousands of species and are under threat from all sides. Land reclamation, sewage, farming, silting, industry, mining and every human activity imaginable encroach.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ottawa Kanata Beaver Pond Forest Saved Temporarily

A community effort to save the Kanata Beaver Pond has won a measure of success.

Last night Ottawa City Council voted in favour of a motion by Kanata North Councillor Marianne Wilkinson to examine ways of acquiring the land or swapping for it, and also instructed city staff to report on how removing this land from development would affect the water and sewer infrastructure in  the area going forward.

The infrastructure report is expected to be ready in time for the Nov. 24 meeting, at which time there will also be a new council, with elections coming up soon.

There are 4,500+ members on a Facebook group set up to save the wetlands.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kanata Beaver Pond and Kizell Wetlands face imminent threat

Painting recognizes Ottawa's Kanata Beaver Pond and the Kizell Wetlands

Kanata Beaver Pond


These wetlands are under imminent, if not immediate threat. Efforts are currently underway to muster resources and complete surveys of plant and wildlife species. Already, tree-felling has been stopped at least once by a last minute intervention this summer. A vast collection of biological information has already been compiled.
I am aware of a couple of places you can go to for more information on the current situation and what can still be done to save these wetlands.

One good starting point is a blog called "Save Ottawa's South March Highlands". , who recently announced the following: ** Thanks to our efforts, on October 6, Ottawa City Council will vote on a motion to save a key section of the forest from development.

Given that today is Oct. 6, I'm afraid the vote may have already taken place but hope there are further actions that can be taken 
Another source of support for these urban wetlands is the Carleton Mississippi Mills Green Party.

This painting by Tatiana Iliina is named after the Kanata Beaver Pond in hope that it will help to raise awareness for this important issue.  It is possible to purchase this painting on Tatiana Iliina's online store.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wetlands Public Art: Elevated Wetland a '90s project that resonates today

Here's a wetland that isn't disappearing anytime soon.

Toronto's Elevated Wetland, created by artist Noel Harding, is "a wetland environment within six giant polystyrene “animal-like” plastic containers located next to the Don River in Taylor Creek Park. The sculpture uses waste plastic as a soil substitute to mechanically filter water from the polluted Don River."

The project was commissioned in 1995 by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, approved by the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto in 1997 and inaugurated in 1998.

The City of Toronto Archives has extensive and interesting records about this project.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Uste Luga

Wet paint  *  Wet Brush  * Wetlands
"Sunrise over a Pristine Shoreline"

Home of the river folk

The bay at the mouth of the Luga River, near the Estonian border in Russia, has been home to fisher folk and wetland wildlife for thousands of years. With the break-up of the Soviet Union, Russia recognized the need for a new port on the Russian Baltic, since it no longer had secure access to ports in the Baltic countries nor Kaliningrad. Soon, the aromatic pine forests and sandy soil of the coast gave way to the bulldozer's blade.

Environmentalists have lamented this testiment to Russia's new and growing industrial power. As for myself, I will always remember my friends in Ust Luga, picking mushrooms in the forests and watching the sun rise over a pristine shoreline.


(This was the first ever painting of the Wetlands collection)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ramsar Criteria for Naming Wetlands of International Importance

"Ramsar" is an international convention signed in 1971 in the city of Ramsar, Iran, (below) to provide for international cooperation in the conservation of wetlands. The convention has really taken on a life of its own. Ramsar now includes almost 1900 sites in 160 countries, covering over 185 million hectares, or 457 million acres.

As with many global organizations, differences among nations require flexible or loose definitions, so many aspects of how Ramsar functions aren't super obvious at a glance. For one thing, you wonder how these sites get named. To be eligible to receive official designation as a Ramsar site, there is one fairly simple condition. That is, a site must be a wetland of international importance.

Fair enough. OK, so how do you know if a site would be of international significance? Glad you asked. Coincidentally, we just happen to have handy (borrowed from Ramsar's site) the most recent criteria for identifying wetlands of international importance, as follows...

Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance
Adopted by the 7th (1999) and 9th (2005) Meetings of the Conference of the Contracting Parties, superseding earlier Criteria adopted by the 4th and 6th Meetings of the COP (1990 and 1996), to guide implementation of Article 2.1 on designation of Ramsar sites.
Group A of the Criteria. Sites containing representative, rare or unique wetland types
Criterion 1: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it contains a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographic region.

Group B of the Criteria. Sites of international importance for conserving biological diversity
Criteria based on species and ecological communities
Criterion 2: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.
Criterion 3: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region.
Criterion 4: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provides refuge during adverse conditions.

Specific criteria based on waterbirds
Criterion 5: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds.
Criterion 6: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.

Specific criteria based on fish
Criterion 7: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies, species or families, life-history stages, species interactions and/or populations that are representative of wetland benefits and/or values and thereby contributes to global biological diversity.

Criterion 8: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend.

Specific criteria based on other taxa
Criterion 9: A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of wetland-dependent non-avian animal species.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Towra Point Wetlands

Wet paint  *  Wet Brush  * Wetlands

Towra Point Wetlands by Tatiana Iliina, 2007

The Towra Point Nature Reserve and wetlands are located in Sydney, Australia. The reserve is 600 hectares and is surrounded by the 1400 hectare Towra Point Aquatic Nature Reserve, which, as the name suggests, is offshore.
 Towra Mangrove Swamps

The reserve is remarkable for, among other reasons, being located in a large city like Sydney. Despite the rich natural diversity of the relatively small park, early attempts to put the area to productive use were hardly successful, perhaps explaining how such a space would be passed down to current generations in such an unspoiled condition.

  The reserve includes all sorts of geological forms, including ponds, swamps, bays, fresh water lagoon, sand banks, forests and, of course, extensive intertidal wetlands. Dozens of endangered, protected and exotic species live in the reserve.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tonle Sap Wetlands

The Tonle Sap wetlands are one of the world's true and little known treasures. This Cambodian lake grows several times its normal size during the rainy season, when water from the Mekong River, which Tonle Sap normally drains into, backs up and floods the entire basin.

In recent times, hover, the Tonle Sap has been threatened by drainage projects, intensive agriculture, damming on the Mekong and other rivers, drought and other problems.

The Tonle Sap wetlands and lake is both a UN Biosphere Reserve, and also a Ramsar Protected Wetland. Even in the dry season, Tonle Sap is the largest lake in Southeast Asia. It is a last refuge for a dozen or more globally  threatened species. It is also a repository for numerous cultural treasures, including floating villages and villages built on stilts and provides fisheries and agricultural production to feed millions of people.

Even though few in North America have ever heard of Tonle Sap, it is easy to appreciate how critical the health of this wetland and water system is to the people of Cambodia, Southeast Asia and the entire world. As a part of her "Wetlands of the World" collection, Co2 Art partner Tatiana Iliina has created an abstract painting to recognize the beauty and importance of Tonle Sap.

Hopefully, her work will also serve to spread the word about this and other wetlands of the world.

Other wetlands that Tatiana has painted in the past have included the Vembenad Wetlands in India, Chesapeake Bay, in the U.S., the Tantromar Marshes in New Brunswick, Uste Luga in Russia and several others.

  Although all the other wetlands paintings have all been sold, Tatiana intends to build up enough wetland paintings for an exhibition that could be available to be shown in various venues. For now, Tonle Sap is available for purchase.