Ontario and Canada Support Better Water Quality for Lake Erie
Partnering with Ducks Unlimited Canada to Create and Restore Wetlands
Ontario, in partnership with the Government of Canada, is improving water quality, restoring valuable habitats and supporting environmental protection for wetlands around Lake Erie.
Through a partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada, private landowners and conservation organizations, both the federal and Ontario governments have created 75 new wetlands and restored 17 existing wetlands in the Lake Erie watershed.
This initiative is supported in part by Canada's Clean Water and Wastewater Fund, which recognizes wetlands as essential natural infrastructure by providing water quality, flood protection and wildlife habitat.
Wetland creation and restoration projects were chosen specifically for their potential to reduce the runoff entering the watershed by:
- Helping to reduce soil erosion
- Capturing significant quantities of melting snow and runoff that might otherwise enter an adjacent stream
- Intercepting runoff from farms.
These new and restored wetlands can also help to reduce the amount of nutrients, including those that cause algal blooms, entering our lakes and thereby improve overall water quality- an important goal set out in the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan. Improving the water quality in Lake Erie means a reliable drinking water supply for local residents, diverse commercial and recreational opportunities, and a healthy habitat for fish and other aquatic species.
Creating and restoring wetlands and protecting the Great Lakes is part of the government's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free preschool child care from 2 ½ to kindergarten.
- Ontario, in partnership with the Government of Canada, has invested $1.3 million to create and restore wetlands in the Lake Erie watershed.
- Wetlands in southern Ontario produce at least $14 billion in economic benefits each year.
- Lake Erie supplies more than 11 million people in Canada and the U.S. with drinking water, is home to 130 fish species and has the world’s largest freshwater fisheries.
- Algal blooms, like the ones found in Lake Erie, can be created by too much phosphorus entering waterways from farm runoff, sewage treatment plant discharges and urban stormwater.
- These wetland projects help Ontario reach the conservation targets set out in the province’s Wetland Conservation Strategy and complement commitments to habitat restoration and ecological health improvement in the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health and Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy.
“Protecting and restoring wetlands in the Lake Erie watershed is an important step to improving the overall health of the lake. Our partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada has allowed us to leverage their expertise while working towards Ontario’s wetlands conservation goals and the commitments we’ve made to keeping the Great Lakes drinkable, swimmable and fishable.”
Nathalie Des Rosiers
“The Government of Canada has committed to engaging with our regional partners to ensure they have the support they need to build sustainable communities. By taking steps to protect and restore important wetlands, we are investing in green infrastructure that will help protect communities and the environment, benefitting Canadians for generations to come.”
“The Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan identifies important actions such as wetlands conservation to make sure less phosphorus gets in the lake. Wetlands help create cleaner, more biodiverse waters and healthier communities. The collaborative work with Ducks Unlimited Canada and their partners to create and restore wetlands in Lake Erie will help protect our Great Lakes for generations to come.”
“Wetlands are critical, natural infrastructure and we need to place as much importance on funding wetland restoration and conservation as we do other types of infrastructure. This partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Infrastructure Canada is ground-breaking and is the type of progressive thinking we need to see in Ontario.”