eastern Region o n ta r i o
In time with World Wetlands Day on February 2, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), Earthroots, Ecojustic and Ontario Nature, released a report that speaks to provincial land use policies and the protection of wetlands across Ontario’s Greenbelt. The report, Protecting Greenbelt Wetlands: How Effective is Policy?, acknowledges the positive ground achieved to date but highlights changes are still needed. Ongoing threats to wetlands, including infrastructure development, water takings and peat extraction, still exist and need to be formally addressed through policy. When implementing policy, the province needs to consider issues such as lack of on-the-ground monitoring, under-resourced municipalities and conservation authorities and better strategies to build landowner support for wetland conservation. Overall, the report confirms that wetland policy in the Greenbelt is working and a similar level of protection across Ontario would help wetlands in other areas. “We’re moving in the right direction,” says Joshua Wise of Ontario Nature, “and this report sketches out a game
plan for how the province and municipalities can ensure Ontario’s Greenbelt achieves the goals of protection and restoration for our natural systems.” At a time when government spending is under pressure, wetlands offer natural cost-savings. A previous study shows Greenbelt wetlands provide $1.3 billion in economic value to the province every year for services such as water filtration, flood control, moderating the impacts of climate change, and recreation and tourism opportunities. DUC’s own 2011 study, A Business Case for Wetland Conservation, also clearly demonstrates the role wetlands play in solving water quality problems like those seen in central Ontario’s Lake Simcoe. In total, the report puts forward twelve key recommendations that, if implemented, will significantly increase the level of protection for Ontario’s wetlands.
above: ©DUC/Andrew McLachlan
Wetland protection working, but still more to be done
Download the full report online at ecojustice.ca/greenbelt
Left to right: Toronto Maple Leafs President and General Manager Brian Burke, Tim Hudak, Ontario leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, and DUC acting CEO Jamie Fortune.
Conservator | spring 2012
This year’s DUC Toronto Conservation dinner, proved once again why it is considered a key fundraising event for Ducks Unlimited Canada. Reaching its goal of raising $250,000, the event was attended by government, industry and community leaders. Former premier Mike Harris, Tim Hudak, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party for Ontario, and Brian Burke, Toronto Maple Leafs President and General Manager, were among the 330 people who enjoyed the evening’s festivities, presented in part by TD Bank Group, at the On the Park Events & Conference Centre. A wide assortment of incredible items to choose from in the live and silent auctions con-
tributed to the night’s excitement. Outstanding trips and excursions, hockey packages, original artwork and some rare and sought after whiskey and wines, provided for entertaining and competitive bidding. “This year’s event was yet another monumental success,” says George Wallace, Toronto committee co-chair. “Big plans are already in the works to bring the 35th annual Toronto Conservation dinner, which coincides with DUC’s 75th anniversary, back downtown to its humble beginnings to allow us to continue to build on our collective successes. Make sure you mark Thursday, January 24th, 2013 in your calendars!”
left: Tripp Creative Inc.
The BIG city continues delivering BIG results
Restoring Onondaga Farms The unseasonably warm weather and lack of snow earlier this winter were a welcome change for the restoration team with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC). They completed numerous rebuild projects at the impressive Tim Horton Onondaga Farms near Cambridge, Ont. With funding in place from last year’s successful tribute event held in honour of original property owner Gil Henderson and his late wife
Molly, DUC installed seven new long-life water control structures. With new safety fencing and minor dam work also completed, the control structures manage the flow of water, ensuring productive wetland habitat for years to come. “Onondaga Farms is a magnet for waterfowl and other wildlife” says Dave McLachlin, biologist and Ontario habitat restoration program lead with DUC. “In some cases, temporary dams
were installed to hold back water in the wetlands while the work was completed to ensure the hibernating reptiles and amphibians were not disturbed. And, while some of the finishing touches need to wait for warmer weather and drier conditions, these projects are ready for the return of the mallards, wood ducks and Canada geese that use them.”
Big steps taken to protect Montreal’s urban wetlands A newly-adopted plan makes wetland conservation a must in the Montreal area’s municipal planning. The Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC) adopted its first Plan for Metropolitan Management and Development (PMAD) in eastern Region quebec December 2011. The PMAD proposes protecting 17 per cent of its natural habitats, which is in line with the sustainable development and biodiversity protection guidelines established during the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit 2010 in Japan. Wetlands represent two to four per cent of the natural environment protected under this plan. To achieve this conservation goal, each of the 82 MMC municipalities must identify and characterize wetlands greater than 0.7 acres (0.3 hectares) on their territory, and come up with a wetland conservation plan. The integration of wetlands into the PMAD was not an easy task and Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) played a key role. By partnering with the Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment, and Parks, DUC conducted a detailed wetland inventory and mapping project for the MMC. The information DUC provided outlined solutions for sustainable land use in this highly developed part of the province, and showed the critical role wetlands play in building healthy communities.
eastern Region at l a n t i c
ExxonMobil donates to Atlantic Canadian projects 2011 was a successful year of major gift fundraising in Atlantic Canada with a record number of major gift donors supporting Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) conservation and education efforts in the region. A number of these gifts came from partners in conservation such as ExxonMobil. Part of ExxonMobil’s most recent commitment will be used for repairs at Amherst Point Marsh (above), located on the edge of Amherst, N.S. This 1,000-acre wetland, which is part of a National Wildlife Area, provides a refuge for waterfowl. The marsh is an important breeding area for ring-necked ducks, green-winged teal, blue-winged teal and American black ducks. Major gift donations to this project are critical, as costs to repair 1.2 miles of diking and install new water controls is upwards of $500,000. Many major gift donors are also recognizing the value of DUC’s Project Webfoot program, which continues to be in high demand. Funding for field trips and class support has never been more important. ExxonMobil designated a large part of their contribution to help DUC expand the program in Newfoundland and Labrador. This injection of funds will allow more students in the province to experience hands-on learning about the importance of wetlands. Other partners in conservation in Atlantic Canada include Encana Corporation, Corridor Resources, Skretting Canada, and Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline.
Conservator | spring 2012