Watershed Management

Conservation Authorities deliver a variety of watershed management programs and services totaling more than $300 million annually with the support of 3,600 full time, part time and seasonal staff.

Conservation Authorities’ programs and services are science-based and delivered by professionals including foresters, engineers, wildlife experts, ecologists, geologists, economists, agroscientists, planners and educators.

Conservation Authorities often deliver programs and services in partnership with local landowners, other environmental agencies and all levels of government. Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities are typically responsible for:

  • Watershed strategies and management
  • Flooding and erosion protection
  • Water quality and quantity
  • Reforestation and sustainable woodlot management
  • Ecosystem regeneration
  • Environmental education and information programming
  • Land acquisition
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Soil conservation
  • Environmental land use planning
  • Habitat protection
  • Agricultural and rural landowner assistance
  • Sensitive wetlands, flood plains, valley lands protection

Monitoring Watershed Conditions

Conservation Authorities monitor the health of Ontario’s natural resources through various monitoring networks, some of which are in partnership with the Province of Ontario. In 2013, the majority of Conservation Authorities published watershed report cards focused on three natural resource indicators: surface water quality, forest conditions and groundwater quality. A second set of report cards are scheduled for 2018.

Integrated Watershed Management

Conservation Authorities rely on an integrated watershed management approach which requires us to manage human activities and natural resources, together, on a watershed basis taking into consideration the connected interests and needs of the environment, economy and society.

READ: Watershed Management in Ontario Lessons Learned and Best Practices

Watershed Management