Wetlands at Work in Ontario—Ducks Unlimited Canada Skip to main content

Climate Resiliency - Clean Water - Flood Mitigation

A nature-based climate solution

Wetlands help maintain a long-term supply of clean, safe water for communities.

Wetlands are power players on the working landscape. Their ecological functions are a powerful, cost-effective complement to water-management infrastructure such as dams, culverts, stormwater ponds and water treatment plants. All while providing essential wildlife habitat to sustain biodiversity.

Thinking of wetlands as part of Ontario’s water-management infrastructure opens our eyes to the true value of ecosystems for community protection and prosperity. It reminds us that every wetland counts and every action that landowners take for healthy habitat makes a difference for our future.

 

Parker Beaudry, Wetland Hero 2020 © DUC/Jennifer Lavigne

WHY SHOULD WE RESTORE WETLANDS?

Enjoy our short videos with Phil Holst of DUC’s Board of Directors and Mary Anne Doré, dairy farmer, as they show you a restored wetland habitat at Heritage Hill Farms.

Hear about small wetlands directly from a volunteer and a project landowner 👉🏼

  1. Why Not Do Our Part? (16 sec)
  2. Stewards of the Land (31 sec)
  3. Wetland Restoration for Landowners (31 sec)
  4. Why Should We Restore Wetlands? (31 sec)

HABITAT GUIDANCE

Habitat Guidance

A Landowner's Guide to Wetland Restoration in Southern Ontario

This guide provides you with an understanding of basic considerations, costs, techniques and follow-up for a small wetland restoration, whether you are restoring a former wetland or creating new habitat on your land.

Download or print the PDF below for your reference. 👇🏼


OVERVIEW OF WETLAND RESTORATION PROJECTS

 

Small wetland projects may involve excavations to create basins or small berms to hold back surface water as it travels across a property. Wetlands contribute to the natural infrastructure of landscapes by supporting phosphorus reduction, biodiversity, climate readiness, clean water and overall watershed health.
Small wetland projects may involve excavations to create basins or small berms to hold back surface water as it travels across a property. Wetlands contribute to the natural infrastructure of landscapes by supporting phosphorus reduction, biodiversity, climate readiness, clean water and overall watershed health. © DUC

Creating and restoring small wetlands

DUC restores small wetlands by working with private landowners and local conservation partners to fund and carry out the work. New wetland restoration projects involve landowners in watershed stewardship and create jobs in local communities. Small restored wetlands provide optimal breeding habitat for waterfowl, other birds and hundreds of other wildlife species including species at risk–and many other ecological services.

Some of our Ontario landowner stories:

Large wetland restorations may involve new water-control infrastructure—steel water-control structures, culverts and wooden stop logs, constructed earthen dykes, spillways—that requires life-cycle management over time.
Large wetland restorations may involve new water-control infrastructure—steel water-control structures, culverts and wooden stop logs, constructed earthen dykes, spillways—that requires life-cycle management over time. © DUC

Large, permanent wetland projects

Large wetland restorations are partnerships with public and private landowners and create jobs in rural and near-urban communities. DUC maintains a legacy of large, permanent wetland projects that were chosen for their outstanding habitat qualities: waterfowl benefit, large scale, and mix of upland, wetland and open water habitats. But they do even more. Large wetlands contribute to the natural infrastructure of landscapes by sequestering carbon and supporting biodiversity, climate readiness, carbon sequestration, clean water and overall watershed health.

Some of our stories about large wetland restorations:


HELPING  YOU PLAN FOR TIMING AND COSTS

Up front, it’s important to prepare a realistic timeline for habitat projects.

When you’re working around natural habitats, many factors come together to determine how and when projects can go forward. That’s because weather, project size, permit processes and contractor availability can set the pace.

The site’s location, size and complexity will determine the costs of the restoration. Typical overall expenditures for small wetland restorations range widely (i.e., from $15,000 to $25,000) and may be covered by the landowner or shared among funding partners if grants are available.

See Resources below for guidance on where to learn more about costing your project.

Steps needed to carry out a conservation project
Steps needed to carry out a conservation project © DUC

From start to finish, restoring a wetland can take more than a year to complete.

To keep costs down, try to create or restore your wetland during the driest period of the year (late summer months are best) when machinery can work more quickly and efficiently.


WORKING WITH DUCKS UNLIMITED CANADA

We work with landowners to create or enhance wetland and grassland habitats where restoration of the landscape is most needed. Our mission is to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and adjacent habitats, which together create healthy ecosystems. While our focus is on habitat for ducks and other waterfowl, these same habitats have many other benefits for water, wildlife and communities.

Our programs and partnerships support conservation projects that are committed to providing wildlife habitat. For this reason, we require landowners to sign a Conservation Agreement with us for a selected number of years. The agreement protects the habitat but does not interfere with the owner’s current use and enjoyment of the property.

DUC collaborates with conservation authorities, stewardship councils, local governments and landowners to implement new wetland conservation projects. Our contributions include project identification, site suitability assessments, biological assessments, project design support, assistance with permit processes and requirements, and sourcing “match” funding for habitat projects that meet mutual conservation goals.

Habitat conservation projects include restoration and enhancement work (i.e., small wetland excavations and small impoundments) and support for existing wetland habitats through programs such as nest boxes, agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) and other wetland securement tools.

 

Contact us directly to arrange to speak with a conservation specialist about your land.

Call: 705-721-4444   Email: ontario@ducks.ca

 

Wondering if your property is right for a wetland restoration project?

Join Kathryn Boothby and DUC conservation specialist Jeff Krete on a tour of the Boothbys’ small wetland project in southern Ontario.


ONTARIO LAND STEWARD PROFILES

Keeping space for nature on the farm
Landowners, Partnerships

Keeping space for nature on the farm

Scientist and land steward Dr. William Shotyk (Central Ontario)

Learn more
Down by the old fisher tracks
Landowners, Wildlife

Down by the old fisher tracks

Photographer and land steward Bill Kendall (Eastern Ontario)

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Restoring habitat, restoring nature
Landowners, Partnerships

Restoring habitat, restoring nature

Advocate and land steward John Willetts (Central Ontario)

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Collaboration helps all of us do more
Landowners, Partnerships

Collaboration helps all of us do more

Farmland stewards at the Victoria County Community Pasture (East-central Ontario)

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Where bobolinks flit among the cattails
Landowners, Wildlife

Where bobolinks flit among the cattails

Land stewards at the Delaware Sportsmen’s Conservation Association (Western Ontario)

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Ontario landowners open the farm gate to welcome scientists
Conservator

Ontario landowners open the farm gate to welcome scientists

“True stewards of the land” support wetland research (Southwestern Ontario)

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New habitat on the Old River Farm
The Great Lakes & St. Lawrence, Wetlands

New habitat on the Old River Farm

Land steward Mary Simpson (Western Ontario)

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FUNDING & INFORMATION RESOURCES IN ONTARIO

WHERE TO SEEK FUNDING ASSISTANCE

Community funding

There are programs in many communities that pay a portion of the costs to encourage habitat restoration (e.g., wetland, forest, grassland).

Find community contact information:

Grants and funding programs

Ducks Unlimited Canada provides partial funding for habitat projects that meet conservation goals.

Other funding:

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FINDING THE RIGHT INFORMATION

Conservation Ontario

  • Represents Ontario’s conservation authorities, which are local watershed management agencies.
  • Call: 905-895-0716   conservationontario.ca

 

Ducks Unlimited Canada

  • Coordinates with landowners to fund, design and implement wetland restoration.
  • Call: 705-721-4444   Email: ontario@ducks.ca

 

Municipalities

 

Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry


 

Post-construction phase of new small wetland with sculpted basin (Prince Edward County, Ontario)
Post-construction phase of new small wetland with sculpted basin (Prince Edward County, Ontario) © DUC

WETLANDS AT WORK SUPPORTERS

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