Chatham-Kent, Ont. – Sometimes nature needs a helping hand. There is, perhaps, no place in Ontario where this is more true than in the extreme southwest where, in some regions, more than 90 per cent of wetland habitat has been lost. That’s why restoring more than 900 acres (375 ha) along the shores of Lake St. Clair represents a major accomplishment.
On June 10th, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) announced an investment of almost $1 million dollars to restore seven local wetlands, including the St. Clair National Wildlife Area. Each of the projects benefitting from this investment were approaching, or had surpassed, the end of their normal operational lifespan. This investment enables DUC to repair and maintain vital infrastructure, such as dying systems and water control structures, to bring these wetlands back to health.
Wetlands are often recognized for their important role in providing habitat for a myriad of wild creatures. But, they also play a central role in providing clean water, reducing floods and helping mitigate climate change.
“Wetlands are dynamic, living ecosystems that are ever-changing in harmony with our Canadian seasons,” says Lynette Mader, manager of provincial operations for DUC. “These vibrant habitats are often overlooked, long regarded by people as expendable, best developed into other land uses. Land development is intense in southern Ontario and it’s a heavy load for the environment to carry. Pollution, climate change and competing land uses are affecting our forests, lakes and streams. Wetlands are a natural solution.”
For over 25 years, DUC has played a significant role in protecting and restoring wetlands along the lower Great Lakes in southwestern Ontario. But effective conservation is a cycle that requires ongoing maintenance. DUC currently has 885 wetland projects across southern Ontario that must be repaired to ensure the remaining habitat stays healthy. More projects will be added to this inventory as existing wetland infrastructure approaches the end of its normal operational lifespan.
“One million dollars is a lot of money,” continues Mader. “But it takes more than just money, and more people power than we have at DUC. We work closely with both public and private landowners to find sustainable solutions to a healthy environment. There’s no doubt that this is an exciting time for our organization, and for conservation here along the shores of Lake St. Clair. But keep in mind, there is still much more to be done all across the province.”
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. To learn more, please visit ducks.ca.
Communications Specialist, Ontario
Ducks Unlimited Canada
(705) 721-4444 ext. 240