A new report highlights the critical importance of wetlands to the health of the Lake Simcoe Watershed.
The 69-page report by Ontario Streams also looks at the distribution of wetlands across the Watershed’s varied landscapes.
Ontario Streams is a non-profit environmental organization established in 1995 and dedicated to the conservation and rehabilitation of streams and wetlands through education and community involvement.
Environment Canada funded the project through the Lake Simcoe/Southeast Georgian Bay Clean-up Fund (LSGBCUF).
The report summarizes the causes for the loss of 773 hectares of wetlands from 1999-2002 to 2013-2016 and the gain of 60 hectares.
It provides recommendations on how to curtail further wetland losses and encourage more gains.
The report says: The Province’s Conservation Wetland Strategy 2017-2030 provides a great opportunity to slow down or stop the continued losses and degradation of wetlands in the Lake Simcoe Watershed. Correspondingly, the relatively smaller wetland gains that have occurred should be encouraged. This should include increased outreach and incentives to landowners and the acquisition of more wetlands for public enjoyment and to protect those threatened. Existing protection measures also need to be more strongly enforced.”
Jack Gibbons, chair of the North Gwillimbury Forest Alliance, says according to page 7 of the Ontario Streams report, “If the DG Group is allowed to proceed with its proposed 1,073 unit residential development in the North Gwillimbury Forest, this would be by far the largest single wetland loss from residential development in the Lake Simcoe Watershed during the past 15 years.”
The full report, State of the Wetlands in the Lake Simcoe Watershed - July 2018, can be downloaded from the Ontario Streams website. Go to: http://www.ontariostreams.on.ca/Resources-Publications.html