Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Wetlands: the vital link between land and water, with Aquatic Ecologist Brian Potter at next MVFN lecture

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
October 6, 2006

by Pauline Donaldson

Wetlands: the vital link between land and water, with Aquatic Ecologist Brian Potter at next MVFN lecture

On Thursday October 19th the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists welcome Brian Potter, as our guest speaker for “Wetlands in our Watershed”, the second in a series of 7 lectures on “The Mississippi Valley Watershed”. Brian Potter is an Aquatic Ecologist and graduate of the University of Guelph . His career with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources includes work in fisheries assessment, conservation and planning, and other areas dating back to 1982. Specializing in the ecology of wetlands, Potter currently works in the Biodiversity Section of the Fish and Wildlife Branch. He was a member of the review team for the Natural Heritage Reference Manual, a key reference used to interpret provincial policies on wetlands, forests etc. which guide municipal planning decisions in Ontario .

Wetlands are some of the most productive habitats on Earth; not just land or water but a unique combination of both. Many of us are aware that we live amidst some important wetlands such as the ‘Class 1′ wetlands of Mississippi Lake, Kerr Lake, Clayton/Taylor, the Wolf Grove area, or Pakenham Mountain. However, few of us understand the significance of wetlands and why some are assigned a ‘class’. Wetlands, be they swamp, bog or other, are extremely important in providing habitat but they also play a vital role in flood control, groundwater recharge and several other key functions. As a biologist and major contributor to the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System, Brian Potter can give the audience an overview of the different kinds of wetlands, their role in the ‘bigger picture’ of wetland and watershed health overall, and tell us how they are threatened. This will likely shed some light on the reasoning behind the various regulations which apply to wetlands such as the Drainage Act, wetland buffers etc, and on what we and our municipalities can do to better preserve wetlands for the future.

The presentation by Brian Potter takes place Thursday, October 19th at 7:30 pm at the Almonte United Church Social Hall, 106 Elgin St., Almonte. All are welcome; MVFN members and children under 16 receive free admission and for others a fee of $5 applies. MVFN memberships can also be purchased at the door. Host for the evening will be MVFN’s past president Mike Macpherson. Following the presentation refreshments are available. For more information on this lecture and others in the series, please contact MVFN Program Chair Joyce Clinton at 613-257-4879, or email  or check the MVFN website at