Responsible management through wetland policies, programs, legislation and regulations

CWR is uniquely positioned to advance dialogue between industry and conservation groups. It recommends a consistent national approach based on a common interest in supporting wetland conservation while advancing sustainable development. Such standards would then be used to promote progressive policies that benefit wetlands.

Parliament building, in Ottawa.


A National Wetland Conservation Framework

CWR is working with industry associations and conservation organizations, government and academics to develop a national framework for wetland conservation. This framework promotes core policy principles and objectives, science-based best management practices (BMPs), conservation incentives and offsetting programs.

This framework will provide a comprehensive approach to assessing the status, needs and identifying solutions for wetland protection, conservation and responsible management in Canada. The framework will address the following objectives:

  1. Establish a comprehensive national wetland conservation vision and framework
  2. Maintain and strengthen regional, national and North America partnerships and cooperation
  3. Promote a sound scientific and socio-economic basis for decision-making
  4. Improve our understanding of wetland function, value, threats, status and trends, and restoration.
  5. Ensure public understanding of the value and benefits of wetlands, and promote public engagement in wetland stewardship.
  6. Promote effective policies, laws and regulations for wetland resources.
  7. Promote the role of wetlands and wetland habitat in the implementation of relevant national management strategies.
  8. Fulfill our international commitments to protect, conserve and responsibly manage wetlands and wetlands-related biodiversity.

Best Management Practices

CWR reviews sector-specific guidance for working in and around wetlands to understand industry’s challenges and opportunities. Several sectors use BMPs to avoid or minimize operational impacts to wetlands, though the forestry sector is a current leader.  The Wetland BMP Knowledge Exchange is an excellent resource for more information on wetland BMPs.

Through workshops and networking of member organizations, CWR facilitates dialogue among key sectors to advance the development and implementation of BMPs.

Policy Analysis

CWR’s policy workplan grew from recommendations developed at a 2016 wetland policy workshop. CWR will analyze conservation offset policies, including national no-net-loss objectives, and wetland conservation standards that ensure consistency and fairness across jurisdictions and sectors.

As part of its workplan, CWR will evaluate current wetland policy effectiveness in Canada with input from resource sectors and stakeholders. The evaluation will lead to practical solutions for the resource sector that also appeal to conservation groups.

Incentive and Offset Programs

Every day private landowners make land management decisions that impact wetlands. CWR aims to inform and influence these decisions to achieve wetland conservation successes in Canada.

Wetlands are threatened when regulations are ignored or poorly enforced. To be effective, regulations must include economic incentives to compensate the landowner for opportunity costs. CWR advances the economic evaluation of wetlands so that sustainable wetland markets can be developed. Landowners need to see economic value of retaining or restoring wetlands for this program to be successful.

The CWR’s Wetlands Policy Workshop held June 21 to 22, 2016, highlighted the challenges and costs associated with the ‘no net loss’ approach to wetland loss compensation. In response, the CWR prepared a discussion paper to guide future deliberations on this and related national wetland policy issues. In February 2019, CWR organized and delivered a panel session and plenary discussion about wetland offsetting and valuation at the 9th Annual Canadian Agri-Food Policy Conference hosted by the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society (CAES).