A new Ontario study shows that destruction of small wetlands can increase algae blooms in the Great Lakes basin. The Canadian Press notes that while government agencies tend to focus more of their attention on large wetland remediation projects, smaller wetlands actually punch above their weight when it comes to filtering out nutrients from runoff.
Authors, Nandita Basu and Fred Cheng, writes in Water Resources Research, Biogeochemical hotspots: Role of small water bodies in landscape nutrient processing, “Results suggest that small wetlands play a disproportionately large role in landscape-scale nutrient processing.”
Their conclusions suggest that what you do as an individual landowner makes a real difference. “Thus, given the same loss in wetland area, the nutrient retention potential lost is greater when smaller wetlands are preferentially lost from the landscape. Our study highlights the need for a stronger focus on small lentic systems as major nutrient sinks in the landscape.”