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fresh products Wetland Policy

Introduction
The issue of wetland conservation and policy has long been an issue of controversy among interest groups and industry. When observing the number of endangered or threatened species that inhabit wetlands it is apparent that there is a pressing need to conserve them, especially when the leading cause of species loss is habitat destruction (Nowlan and Jeffries, 1996). There is currently in place a system of policies and laws which culminate to create a relatively effective means of enforcement, however, through the lack of a single Act which pertains to wetlands there continues to be inadequacies within the system. Though the federal government has released the Federal Policy on Wetland Conservation it is not admissible in court and therefore only stands as recommendations by which the government would like the public to abide.
The vastly different types of wetlands located through out B.C. create many difficulties in the creation of a single policy, however, if there was a broad based Act which was committed to the current federal policy of no net loss of wetlands it would eliminate the need for overlapping laws at the three levels of government.
What Designates an Area as a Wetland
A wetland can be described in many ways, most of which provide a great deal of vagueness in the distinction between the different classifications as these areas frequently fit into more than one grouping within a very small space. There are basic traits which all wetlands share, in that they are any land which is covered in less than six meters of water at low tide (if tidal) for all or part of the year (Zoltai, 1988), this description includes freshwater wetlands such as shallow ponds, marshes, peat bogs, swamps and fens, as well as saltwater wetlands such as tidal flats, saltwater marshes, eelgrass beds, estuaries and deltas (Nowlan and Jeffries, 1996). With such a broad range of fertile lands included in this description it is no surprise that they maintain such a high level of biodiversity.
This description is however the most basic possible, in that it only allows for a general identification of wetlands, rather than classifying them by type or by the systems to which they are a part of. Nowlan and Jeffries (1996) group wetlands into five categories in accordance with their parent systems: Marine, non-estuary saltwater wetlands; Estuarine, wetlands around the mouth of a river; Lacustrine, wetlands connected to lakes; Riverine, wetlands connected to rivers; Palustrine, marshy wetlands. This method if classification is most effective when viewing wetlands from a policy perspective as it allows for them to be classified as distinctly as possible. Zoltai, in Wetlands of Canada (1988) uses over sixty very specific descriptions for the different types of wetlands in Canada, the problem with this being that the traits of wetlands may change from season to season and within small geographic areas. There is a consensus that the coastal wetlands of the Pacific are of the greatest ecological significance in the field of biodiversity; as they never freeze and are therefore able to provide year round habitat for fish and wildlife (Nowlan and Jeffries, 1996).
Significance of Wetlands
Wetlands have an anthropocentric value which has long been looked over in the development of society, in that they have traditionally been though of as barren wastelands which have no value to humans and therefore have been used as dumping grounds (Schiller and Flanagan, 1997). This pioneer mentality has lead to the paradigm that wetlands are only impeding urban development and that they are indeed useless because they have no immediate or apparent cash value. The truth however, is quite the contrary.
Clean water, which is essential to all life, when extracted for consumption by cities and towns, can be attributed to wetlands (Schiller and Flanagan, 1997). Through natural breakdown and retention of toxins in effluents, wetlands are able to filter solid wastes as well as industrial wastes containing heavy metals; ensuring that they do not harm human populations or other ecosystems. In low-lying areas that are prone to flooding wetlands play a crucial role in ensuring that civilizations are not destroyed, by acting as a sponge, wetlands are able to absorb large amounts of water and slowly release it ... more

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Acid Rain
What is acid rain? Acid rain is the term for pollution caused when sulfur and
nitrogen dioxides combine with atmospheric moisture. The term 'acid rain' is
slightly misleading, and would be more accurate if deemed 'enhanced acid rain',
as rain occurs acidic naturally. Acidity is measured on what is know as the pH
scale. Fourteen is the most basic, seven is the most neutral, and zero is the
most acidic. Pure rain has a pH level of 7, which is exactly neutral. The
acidity of rain is determined by the pH of pure water in reaction with
atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, resulting in carbonic acid. These
particles partly dissociate to produce hydrogen ions and bicarbonate ions. A
bicarbonate atom is an ion formed by one hydrogen atom, one carbon at atom, and
three oxygen atoms, and is very effective in natural waters at neutralizing
hydrogen ions and reducing acidity. The dissociation results in the natural
acidity of pure rain, which is moderately acidic at a pH of 5.7. Rain less than

5.7 is considered 'acid rain', meaning it has reacted with acidic atmospheric
gases other than carbon dioxide, such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.

Sulfur dioxide is produced by electric utilities, industrial, commercial and
residential heating, smelters, diesel engines and marine and rail transport,
which creates sulfuric acid in rain. Nitrogen dioxide will also react with the
rain, caused largely by transportation (cars, trucks, planes, etc.) and electric
utilities, producing nitric acid. There is a certain degree of naturally
occurring acidity in rain water. This acid is from reaction with alkaline
chemicals, found in soils, lakes and stream, and can occasionally occur when a
volcano erupts as well. Bacterial action in soils and degasing from oceanic
plankton also contribute to the acidity found in rain. More than 90% of the
sulfur and 95% of the nitrogen emissions which occur in North America are due to
the pollution created by humans.1 How Is Acid Rain Formed? Acid rain consists
mainly of acids formed in the atmosphere. It consists of the oxides of sulfur,

SO2 and SO3, and of nitrogen NO and NO2. Let us examine the major contributor to
acid rain, sulfur oxides. Natural sources which emit sulfur dioxide include
volcanoes, sea spray, plankton and rotting vegetation. Despite these natural
occurrences, the burning of fossil fuels (such as coal and oil) can be largely
blamed for the emissions. The chemical reactions begin as energy from sunlight,
in the form of photons, hit ozone molecules (O3) to form free oxygen (O2), as
well as single reactive oxygen atoms (O). The oxygen atoms react with water
molecules (H2O), producing electrically charged, negative hydroxyl radicals
(HO). These hydroxyl radicals are responsible for oxidizing sulfur dioxide and
nitrogen dioxide, which produces sulfuric acid and nitric acid. Some particles
will settle to the ground (in the form of acid deposition) or vegetation can
absorb some of the SO2 gas directly from the atmosphere. When sulfur dioxide
comes in contact with the atmosphere, it oxidizes and forms a sulfate ion. It
becomes sulfuric acid as it joins with hydrogen atoms in the air and falls down
to earth. Oxidation occurs most in clouds, especially in heavily polluted air,
where other compounds such as ammonia and ozone help to catalyze the reaction,
increasing the amount of sulfur dioxide changing to sulfuric acid. Not all of
the sulfur dioxide is converted to sulfuric acid, and it is not uncommon for a
substantial amount to float up into the atmosphere, move to another area, and
return to earth as sulfur dioxide, unconverted. S (in fossil fuels) + O2 =* SO2

2 SO2 + O2 =* 2 SO3 Much of the sulfur dioxide is converted to sulfur trioxide
in the atmosphere SO3 + H2O =* H2SO4 The sulfur trioxide can then dissolve
within water to form sulfuric acid Nitric oxide and nitric dioxide are mainly
from power plants and exhaust fumes. Similar to sulfur dioxide, reactions are
heavily catalyzed in heavily polluted clouds where iron, manganese, ammonia and
hydrogen peroxide are present. Also, the formation of nitric acid can trigger
further reactions which release new hydroxyl radicals to generate more sulfuric
acid. The following is a typical reaction, which is direct combination of
nitrogen and oxygen at the high temperature inside a car engine. N2 + O2 + heat
=* 2NO 2NO + O2 =* 2NO2 This nitrogen monoxide immediately reacts with oxygen
and forms nitrogen dioxide in the following reaction 3NO2 + H2O =* 2HNO3 (aq) +

NO The nitrogen will then dissolve in water in ... more

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