Innovative Information Management to Support Wetland Conservation


Ducks Unlimited Canada’s (DUC) conservation goal in the boreal forest is to maintain waterfowl abundance by conserving 660 million acres of habitat most important to waterfowl. Meeting this goal involves a balance of protected areas and sustainable land use, and DUC recognizes Best Management Practices (BMPs) as one approach to achieving the latter. DUC’s BMP program was developed to help industry’s growing efforts to implement BMPs that support the responsible management of wetlands, waterfowl, and waterfowl habitat. Our focus is on (1) identifying planning and operational practices that are or can be used to reduce potential impacts of industrial activities on wetlands and waterfowl; (2) evaluating practices and integrating wetland and waterfowl knowledge into new or existing practices; and (3) promoting the use of BMPs. An inherent part of our work is collating, reviewing, and synthesizing information, and to increase our effectiveness, the BMP Program developed an internal Access database to house information on wetland related BMPs. We are interested in sharing and exchanging our information with others, as well as providing a space for others to share and exchange their BMP information, and have taken steps exploring the best way to do so. In 2014, we commissioned an information and management exchange needs assessment study to identify the business requirements and functional needs of DUC and our partners with respect to a system for managing BMP information. Results of the study indicated that participants wanted information delivered through a number of methods ranging from workshops to synthesize report, but that a key challenge was locating and accessing BMP information. Many respondents expressed the desire for a central repository that would simplify access to BMP information. DUC hosted the Wetlands BMPs Workshop to follow-up on these results by bringing people together to learn from each other and to (1) get feedback from potential system users by examining different information management and exchange system (IMES) options to guide the creation of a system, and; (2) promote and share BMPs for working in wetlands. Workshop outcomes will depend on the ability and willingness of participants to engage in discussions during the workshop, to apply what they learn, and to continue to work collaboratively on identifying, promoting and sharing wetland BMPs. DUC will apply what we learn from the workshop to (1) developing a wetland BMP IMES; (2) developing future BMP recommendations; and (3) directing our BMP program’s future activities.