ST. THOMAS — The Ontario government is partnering with Ducks Unlimited Canada to enhance and restore approximately 60 local wetlands across the province over the next year, as part of a five-year, $30 million Wetlands Conservation Partner Program. Ducks Unlimited Canada is receiving $6 million for projects that will help improve water quality, preserve and increase habitats for endangered species, help prevent flooding and build climate change resiliency in the Lake Ontario and Lake Erie watersheds and connecting waterways.
Today Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, was joined by Lynette Mader, Manager of Operations in Ontario for Ducks Unlimited Canada, at the Kettle Creek Conservation Authority to showcase a completed wetland restoration project that received funding from the Wetlands Conservation Partner Program and to thank the many private and public landowners who will be restoring wetlands this summer as part of the program.
“Wetlands keep our water safe, and they make our communities more climate change resilient by helping to prevent floods – that’s why protecting these vital areas is such an important part of our Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan,” said Minister Yurek. “As long-standing experts in this area, I am thrilled we have partnered with Ducks Unlimited Canada on projects to enhance and restore our province’s wetlands — ensuring our water resources and ecosystems are healthy and beautiful for everyone to enjoy.”
The projects led by Ducks Unlimited Canada, an internationally recognized wetlands restoration organization, include approximately 40 wetland restoration projects for large-scale, permanent wetlands, and 20 small wetland projects – all of which contribute to both climate resiliency and green jobs in Ontario’s rural and near-urban communities. The following projects were recently completed or are underway with support from the Wetlands Conservation Partner Program:
- In Atocas Bay, near Hawkesbury east of Ottawa, wetland infrastructure is being enhanced to help mitigate flood risk and support climate resiliency for the communities in the Ottawa River watershed.
- Two new wetlands have been added to Elgin County, in collaboration with the Kettle Creek Conservation Authority, with others underway in the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority, designed to capture and filter surface water before it enters Lake Erie.
- St. Luke’s Marsh, near Chatham-Kent, where enhancing the rare coastal wetlands will support local biodiversity and wildlife, as well as short and long-term benefits to downstream waterbodies, including Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie.
“We are delivering on our commitment to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, including wetlands, across Ontario,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Today’s projects are an important example of how we are taking action and working with partners like Ducks Unlimited Canada to protect the environment for generations to come.”
“Birds and other wildlife rely on wetlands for habitat,” said John Yakabuski, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “That’s why I am so pleased to continue our long-standing, successful partnership with Ducks Unlimited Canada, which has contributed to the restoration of 2,263.5 acres of wetland and protection of 1,944 acres of wetland in rural Southern Ontario over the years.”
“Our Ontario team had a busy spring negotiating with landowners and securing permits to start project construction,” said Lynette Mader, Manager of Provincial Operations in Ontario for Ducks Unlimited Canada. “Some projects are already complete and more conservation partners, construction contractors and site supervisors are lined up to continue work throughout the summer. We’re excited to support local economies by working with local partners and contractors.”