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Small wetlands are making a big comeback in southern Ontario

June 16, 2021 Ontario Provincial
Scott and Linda Dunn have a newly created small wetland at their family farm on the shores of Lake Erie.
Scott and Linda Dunn have a newly created small wetland at their family farm on the shores of Lake Erie. © Scott and Linda Dunn

Barrie, Ont.—Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is hard at work this spring on wetland restoration projects that contribute to healthy landscapes and green jobs in Southern Ontario. Demand for wetland restoration is at an all-time high as Ontario landowners connect healthy landscapes with clean water and flood management for their communities.

Small wetlands support water management and shelter wildlife

DUC is collaborating with farmers and farm landowners to create newly restored small wetlands on retired agricultural fields in upper and lower watersheds south of London, Ont. Private farm landowners Scott and Linda Dunn worked with DUC and community partners Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority, ALUS Elgin and Elgin Stewardship Council to create a small wetland at their family farm near the shores of Lake Erie.

“The new wetland name, Lake Antonuk, comes from Linda’s parents who grew tobacco and cash crops here for more than 50 years,” said Scott Dunn. “Our plan to change our property to a more natural area happened after we watched many landowners remove trees and fill in or tile wetlands on their property. It only made sense to add a pond to support wildlife and help with the watershed.”

The Dunns’ new wetland is among the first to be completed by DUC and its partners this spring, and will be joined by nearly 2,500 acres (1,000 hectares) of restored natural infrastructure in the watersheds of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie and their connecting waterways through the Wetlands Conservation Partner Program, which targets the Lake Ontario and Lake Erie drainage basins in 2021.

Wetlands Conservation Partner Program restores natural infrastructure

Restoring wetland habitat contributes to the natural infrastructure of landscapes by boosting climate resiliency, water quality, flood mitigation, phosphorus reduction and overall watershed health. The same productive wetland habitat sustains wildlife including waterfowl, other birds and hundreds of other species such as turtles, fish and pollinators.

Thanks to this commitment, DUC is achieving unprecedented capacity for wetland restoration which is being fulfilled through longstanding partnerships with municipalities, stewardship volunteers and conservation authorities. Today, Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, was joined by Lynette Mader, DUC’s manager of provincial operations in Ontario, and conservation partners to showcase a completed small wetland project at the Kettle Creek Conservation Authority offices.


“The farming community has embraced wetland restoration. We have a wait list for projects and that enthusiasm is bringing much-needed scale to wetland restoration in Southern Ontario. We’re making it happen with local working partners who help us restore the natural infrastructure of communities and support green jobs.” Lynette Mader, Manager of Provincial Operations for Ontario, Ducks Unlimited Canada

“Working in partnership is how we have the most positive impact on the community. Stewardship projects help the Lower Thames CA engage landowners in activities that support flood management in our watersheds and help us continually work toward cleaner water flowing into Lake Erie.” Mark Peacock, Chief Administrative Officer, Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority

“Restoring wetlands is an attractive stewardship option when farmers want to increase ecological services on farmland in Southern Ontario. Wetlands are major producers of ecological services for farmland and neighbouring communities. These services are needed to help communities achieve clean air and water, flood mitigation, climate adaptation and support for natural spaces.” Alyssa Cousineau, Eastern Hub Manager, ALUS Canada

New interactive map features landowners and small wetlands

Visit our new ArcGIS StoryMap to watch nearly 2,500 acres (1,000 hectares) of wetlands as they appear on the landscape over the coming months. See featured places and people that support healthy wetland habitats in the lower Great Lakes region. Explore the ArcGIS StoryMap here >>


Contact Information

Joanne Barbazza

Head of Communications & Outreach Support
Phone: 705-890-0593

About Ducks Unlimited Canada

Ducks Unlimited Canada delivers wetland conservation that benefits every Canadian. We keep the water in your lakes and rivers clean. We protect your community from the effects of flood and drought. We save wildlife and special natural places. We use science to find solutions to the most important environmental issues of the day and we collaborate with people who are helping create a healthier world. The wetlands we save aren’t just for ducks; they’re for all of us.