Natalia Moudrak - Director of Infrastructure Adaptation for the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo. (Photo by Bob Montgomery)

Wetlands Can Help Protect Against Flooding

Damage and costs from flooding and extreme weather events are making it tough on property owners.

But one expert says there is a way to reduce flood damage, by protecting wetlands.

Natalia Moudrak is the Director of Infrastructure Adaptation for the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo.

She was the guest speaker at the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority’s Annual Award Dinner this past week.

“Wetlands act as a sponge and absorb some of the rain water so it doesn’t enter homes and cause flood damage,” said Moudrak. “And we found wetlands can reduce up to 40% of flood damage costs associated with such huge events as Hurricane Hazel.”

Moudrak adds wetlands also reduce the impacts of a drought by holding water on the land and improving water quality.

“We looked in our study at the flood damage attenuation benefit. Certainly a drought attenuation is another benefit, water quality improvement, carbon sink,” added Moudrak. “There’s a whole range of benefits, so once you start adding them up the business case for conservation becomes even more significant.”