The signs of stressed and failing watershed health are evident as more and more media stories across the country are citing massive, costly floods, algal blooms and increased risk of drought. Like all Canadians, Ontarians are increasingly concerned about climate change, cleaning up after yet another flood or watching algae take over our lakes. The good news is wetlands are natural solutions to these problems and they are on the radar of Ontario’s decision makers. The provincial government is developing a new strategy to stop the net loss of wetlands and all of Ontario’s private citizens have the opportunity to contribute.
This summer, Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry released its wetland conservation framework discussion paper to solicit input and ideas from stakeholders and the general public about how to best protect and restore Ontario’s remaining wetlands and stop their degradation and loss, due to urban development, , , invasive species, and other factors. This represents the first big step by government towards their commitment to reverse wetland loss. It’s an important turning point for wetland conservation in Ontario, but time is of the essence; feedback from stakeholders and the public will only be accepted until October 30, 2015.
Now is the time. Forty per cent of Canada’s population lives in Ontario. Our cities are growing. Industry is advancing. Agriculture is expanding in some areas. It’s a heavy load for the environment to carry. This opportunity to comment may be our best chance in decades to help conserve Ontario’s critical natural resources. If you are worried about the future of your favourite fishing hole, where you swim, hike or walk your dog, you need to speak out for wetlands. Share your passion by engaging in this process and submitting comments or even attending a public consultation session. Speak from the heart and share your own thoughts and observations. It’s time to stop wetland loss. Together, we can make a difference. Find out how.