On World Wetlands Day last Friday, Nature Conservancy of Canada announced the addition of a new parcel of land northeast of Richer.  

Spokesperson Tim Teetaert says “We're very excited to announce the acquisition of what we're calling the Ste. Rita peatlands property. It's a 190-acre property located just outside the community of Ste. Rita. The property consists of a mosaic of habitats, forested and non-forested, peatlands, mineral wetlands, and a stretch of the Hazel Creek and its associated riparian area.” 

The property was owned by the Rosenberg family for about 40 years and Teetaert says they recently donated it along with some funding for it’s long-term care and management. He notes Nature Conservancy of Canada is incredibly grateful for the generous donation.  

Teetaert says peatlands are an important type of wetland characterized by the accumulation of peat which is a partially decomposed organic matter. 

“What's really interesting about peat is it takes about 1,000 years to accumulate 1 metre of it. It's very slow in its formation. Peatlands play an important role in storing carbon. Peatlands store more carbon than any other terrestrial ecosystem on Earth, and their conservation plays an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change.” 

The ste. rita peatlandsPhoto credit: Nature Conservancy of Canada

So, what does conservation look like? Teetaert says with this particular parcel, they will begin this summer by conducting a baseline inventory on the property. 

“Staff will go out onto the property and map out and inventory all the plants and wildlife that are found. It's those biodiversity targets that we're really interested in and then that will inform our property management plan, which is a five-year plan that looks at those biodiversity targets and then sets activities that will maintain or improve those biodiversity targets.” 

Fortunately, being a wetlands environment, Teetaert says there won’t be much management necessary.  

This donation was announced this past Friday on World Wetlands Days. Teetaert says the day is all about celebrating and bringing awareness to the importance of wetlands.  

“Canada is home to one quarter of the world's wetlands. Looking at the land mass, that's about 15% of Canada is wetlands. Wetlands cover about 40% of Manitoba. They play an important role in being natural water filters. They also mitigate those effects of severe weather events like floods and droughts and also trap and store carbon.” 

Teetaert says they are looking forward to learning from and preserving the Ste. Rita Peatlands property.