Ontario Making Historic Investments in Wetland Restoration
TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing $6.7 million in the restoration and enhancement of approximately 150 wetland projects across the province. This funding will help six conservation partners restore more than 750 hectares of wetlands and improve water quality, preserve and increase habitats for endangered species, help prevent flooding and build climate change resiliency in the Great Lakes watershed and connecting waterways. As part of the second phase of the government’s five-year, $30 million Wetlands Conservation Partner Program, which represents one of the largest investments in wetland restoration in Ontario’s history, funding focuses on enhancing wetlands in the Great Lakes watersheds and supporting municipalities with stormwater management by enhancing natural infrastructure. “Wetlands play a crucial role in the health of our environment and our communities – creating habitat for wildlife and building climate resiliency, among countless other benefits,” said David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “With the help of our conservation partners, we are stepping up conservation efforts across the province, helping to secure a greener and cleaner future now and for generations.” The province is working in partnership with a number of Ontario-based conservation organizations that will use the funds to plant native wetland species, remove invasive species, restore water flow and enhance infiltration/retention, implement livestock exclusion fencing and build riparian buffers, and restore and protect historic wetlands. These partners include:
The wetland enhancement and restoration projects include a wide range of projects from large-scale, permanent wetlands to smaller wetland enhancement projects - all of which will help improve water quality, preserve and increase habitats for endangered species, help prevent flooding and build climate change resiliency in the Great Lakes watershed and connecting waterways, including stormwater management.
"The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has protected freshwater habitats across the province for the benefit of wildlife and people for close to 60 years. This investment by Ontario’s Wetlands Conservation Partner Program in NCC’s restoration work will enhance the richness and diversity of wetlands, create more habitat for native plants and animals, and provide recreational and economic benefits to local communities. These restored wetlands are important to the health of local watersheds. They mitigate floods by absorbing and holding water like a giant sponge and improve drinking water quality by filtering nutrients and removing sediment and even bacteria."
- Wendy Cridland Senior Director of Conservation, Ontario Region, Nature Conservancy of Canada "Anglers, hunters, and trappers carry a deep appreciation for the role of wetlands in overall watershed health and the benefits offered to all species, including humans. The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters believes wetland conservation needs sustained investments and partnerships like this program to achieve meaningful success. As an organization, we remain committed to doing our part through restoring healthy tributaries needed to support Atlantic Salmon, habitat work on farmland by ALUS Peterborough, invasive species prevention, investments in research, and other grassroots volunteer initiatives."
- Matt DeMille Director of Policy and Programs, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters "Ontario Land Trust Alliance is proud to be working in partnership with the Province of Ontario, in collaboration with local rural communities, to restore and enhance critical wetland habitats. Wetlands are essential resources that are important for biodiversity, while also providing clean water, flood management and natural climate solutions to communities across Ontario."
- Alison Howson Executive Director, Ontario Land Trust Alliance "Ducks Unlimited Canada looks forward to building on the success of Phase 1 in which we provided work for 39 unique construction companies to restore 956.6 hectares of wetland habitat. This year, we will restore 45 wetlands representing 475.2 hectares all across Ontario. Some of these projects are anywhere from 25 to 125 hectares in size - these are large, magnificent wetland habitats that provide critically important habitat for species at risk and other wildlife, as well as important climate benefits to Ontario communities."
- Lynette Mader Manager of Provincial Operations for Ontario, Ducks Unlimited Canada "The Township of Georgian Bay greatly appreciates the support of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks in protecting our wetlands, the kidneys of our environment, from the destructive invasive phragmites. Wetlands are absolutely vital to the health of our waters and essential to the survival of many of our threatened wildlife species. This grant was made possible through the limitless advocacy of the Georgian Bay Preservation Alliance and their support to this project and others in the Township of Georgian Bay."
- Peter Koetsier Mayor, Township of Georgian Bay "At ALUS, we believe farmers and ranchers not only feed the world, but they can also play an important role in fighting climate change by delivering nature-based solutions, such as wetlands, which provide ecosystem services that contribute to building community resilience. Wetlands help produce cleaner water, and mitigate flood and drought while offering habitat for wildlife and pollinators. We are thankful for this fund, which will help us pursue our work with Ontario’s farmers and ranchers."
- Bryan Gilvesy CEO of ALUS Additional Resources