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Ontario government announce wetland conservation strategy

The Ontario Government has announced a wetland conservation strategy for the province.

The strategy outlined by the government is set to run from 2017 until 2030, with the goal being to stop the loss of wetlands by 2025 and have more wetlands built up by 2030. The strategy is using the themes of awareness, knowledge, partnership and conservation to reach their goals.

Each theme has a goal associated with it and an outcome the Ontario government believe the goal’s completion will make reality. The goal for awareness is to ‘develop and advance public awareness of, appreciation for and connection to Ontario’s wetlands’ with the expected outcome detailed as “people are valued and inspired to conserve Ontario’s wetlands. For knowledge they hope to ‘increase knowledge about Canada’s wetlands, including their status, distribution, functions and vulnerability’ so that ‘better knowledge is available and used to make decisions to improve wetland conservation’. With the partnership theme their goal is to ‘establish and strengthen partnerships to focus and maximize conservation efforts for Ontario’s wetlands’ which they hope will make ‘peoples communities and organizations collaborate together to improve wetland conservation’. Finally the plan for the theme of conservation is to ‘develop conservation approaches and improve policy tools to conserve the area and function of Ontario’s wetlands’ so that ‘Ontario has a strong and effective foundation to conserve and stop the net loss of wetlands’.

Some of the actions the Ontario government is proposing include; evaluating existing communication materials and outreach initiatives to identify gaps, update and refine provincial wetland mapping to align with evaluation of policy and planning, explore carbon offsetting protocol for wetlands, integrating a clear and consistent definition of wetlands in government policy and reviewing provincial laws, regulations and polices with the goal of strengthening wetland policies.

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According to government representatives wetlands are an essential component of biodiversity. They also lessen the impact of climate change by lowering the risk of flooding and drought, preventing erosion and moderating climate extremes. The strategy will also see Ducks Unlimited Canada chair a committee on wetland conservation policy made up of environmental group members, industry and conservation authorities and indigenous representatives. Ducks Unlimited will also be receiving $1.9 million so they can deliver wetland conservation, restoration and research through southern Ontario.

To see the complete conservation strategy go to http://apps.mnr.gov.on.ca/public/files/er/a-wetland-conservation-strategy-for-ontario-2017-2030.pdf

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