New commitment for some of Ontario’s most important ecosystems

Ducks Unlimited Canada announces new partnership with Ontario government to conserve and restore wetlands

Today, the Government of Ontario announced a wetland conservation strategy for the province. The plan commits to halting the net loss of wetlands by 2025 and achieving a net gain by 2030.

“This strategy is unprecedented for Ontario, and we congratulate the government and their staff for their leadership and commitment to wetland conservation,” says Greg Weeks, senior director for DUC.

Among the highlights of the strategy is the fact that it addresses all aspects of wetland conservation including building awareness of wetland values, building and expanding on existing partnerships and strengthening Ontario’s policy framework for wetlands.

To support implementation of the strategy, DUC will chair a committee on wetland conservation policy. The committee includes stakeholders from environmental groups, industry and conservation authorities as well as Indigenous representatives. Together, they will provide the province with advice and guidance related to strengthening wetland policy in Ontario.

As part of the partnership, the province is providing DUC with $1.9 million to deliver wetland conservation, restoration and research projects across southern Ontario.

“Ontario’s wetlands are among the province’s most ecologically valuable and productive habitats,” says Kathryn McGarry, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “We want to ensure Ontario’s wetlands are valued, conserved and restored. Halting wetland loss requires coordinated efforts and a clear plan of action and that’s exactly what this partnership provides.”

Wetlands naturally filter pollutants from water, helping to keep our rivers and lakes clean. They reduce the severity of flooding and drought by holding excess water during wet periods and slowly release it during dry periods. Wetlands also store huge amounts of carbon, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Further, a recent study that examined the financial cost of a major flood event in urban and rural areas, found that leaving wetlands intact on the landscape can reduce the financial costs of floods by up to 38 per cent (Moudrak, Hutter and Feltmate, B., 2017).

“The economic case for wetland conservation and investment just got a lot stronger,” says Lynette Mader, DUC’s manager of provincial operations for Ontario. “This new science builds on a considerable body of knowledge on the environmental and economic value of wetlands and supports decisions to invest in wetlands as natural infrastructure, to limit the costliest climate change impact in Canada – flooding.”

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. www.ducks.ca  

For more information, contact:

Joanne Barbazza
Head of Communications and Outreach Support
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Phone: 705-721-4444 ext. 240
j_barbazza@ducks.ca