Ecosystems Services: a benefit to wildlife and people
UPSTREAM FLOOD PROTECTION
Mapping of floodplains is important for communities to mitigate risks, uphold public safety, and protect property. Floods are a natural aspect of the environment but pose high costs in terms of property damage and public safety. In Nova Scotia inland flooding can be seasonal, resulting from snowmelt, or a consequence of moderate-high intensity rainfall coupled with infrastructure failure. Unpredictable events like sudden thaws and upstream flow obstructions can also lead to floods that overwhelm drainage networks.
Riparian buffers are made up of wetland plants that slow run-off rates and remove contaminants, protecting the greater watershed. Forested riparian buffers are particularly beneficial for providing shade which lowers the water temperature, increasing the level of dissolved oxygen in the water and thus improving the survival and reproduction of fish and aquatic organisms. Forested riparian buffers also play an important role in stabilizing eroding banks. Transitional wetland ecosystems including bogs and fens are important biodiversity hotspots and home for notable SAR including Blanding’s Turtles and Eastern Ribbonsnakes. When a riparian area becomes degraded, sediment accumulates in the water channel and water quality is negatively impacted.