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Kylie McLeod, Clayton Gillies, Terry Osko, Bev Gingras, Matthew Pyper
Wetlands are prominent throughout Canada’s boreal, and are important ecosystem features because of the numerous ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration, groundwater recharge, recreation value) and the habitat they provide. Because of their prominence, wetlands in many cases overlap with areas of interest for forestry, oil and gas, utilities, and other industries. Resource roads associated with these activities are often built through wetlands and these wetland crossings may have environmental impacts. Appropriate design, construction, operations, and monitoring is important not only to avoid and minimize these impacts, but also to maintain the performance and safety of the crossing. While resource road wetland crossings have been a longstanding focus, the growing body of research documenting the types and extent of impacts has been important for raising awareness of the issue with industry, government, and other decision-makers. In recent years, increasing legal (e.g., wetland policies), certification (e.g., sustainable forest management certification) and social license requirements have served, alongside the growing body of research, as motivators for incorporating wetlands into resource road planning, construction, maintenance, and decommissioning. In this talk we will highlight the importance of research to document and improve understanding of the environmental impacts of boreal wetland crossings, provide examples of projects we have collaborated on to develop and share best management practices for better wetland crossings, and highlight ongoing knowledge gaps. Incorporating wetland knowledge into road developments is key for achieving common goals of maintaining wetland function, improving road performance, reducing maintenance and reclamation costs and improving road safety.
Conference Presentation, SER2021
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program