Clark Island wetland restoration will create fish habitat near Lake Ontario Skip to main content

Wetland restoration at Clark Island will create new fish habitat connected to Lake Ontario

January 08, 2019 Ontario Provincial
Clark Island coastal wetland on Lake Ontario.
Clark Island coastal wetland on Lake Ontario. © DUC

Napanee, Ont.—Work has begun on a large restoration project to develop the habitat at the Clark Island wetland owned by DUC.

The property includes a coastal wetland on the Hay Bay shoreline, which will be strategically excavated to create open-water habitat for fish in eight (8) pools with a series of connecting channels.

The channels will connect the habitat to Hay Bay, creating a passage for fish between the lake and the wetland. The design will benefit fish and other aquatic species. It will also provide excellent habitat for a wetland-dependent bird, a small, shy species-at-risk called the least bittern.

The site selection and design has been a collaborative effort between DUC and its project partners including the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority.

“We are excited to see the results of this restoration, which will provide habitat for fish and other wildlife for decades to come. This has been a rewarding journey of working together, from the government agencies involved in early planning to a neighbouring landowner who granted land-based access to the site during construction, for which DUC is deeply appreciative,” says Michael Williams, head of restoration services for DUC.

Coastal wetlands are top-priority for wildlife habitat

The site at Clark Island is a Lake Ontario coastal wetland, a top-priority habitat for conservation. These wetlands provide resting, nesting and feeding areas for hundreds of wild species: fish, birds, insects, plants and more. For migratory birds, coastal wetlands provide much-needed stopovers for “refueling” on long migration journeys.

The Clark Island project is designed to mitigate necessary harm to fish habitat, taking place as a result of upgrades at the Amherst Island ferry terminal that will, among other benefits, improve accessibility with new, accessible docks, ramps and buildings, as part of the Province of Ontario’s multi-year accessibility plan.

Post-construction, Quinte Conservation will verify that the new habitat has attracted fish species by carrying out a three-year monitoring program.


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.

Contact Information

Michael Williams
Head of Restoration Services