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Managing the impact of our activities using an Integrated Watershed Management approach

Photo Credit: Lou Wise

What we do in Ontario’s watersheds impacts the health and sustainability of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin.

Upstream activities and conditions such as urbanization, increased water uses, pollution, and stormwater runoff affect water quantity and water quality downstream in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin.

Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities use an Integrated Watershed Management Approach which requires us to:

  1. Learn about our local watersheds - their physical characteristics, how they function and what kind of land uses are currently underway, and the current state of local water and land resources
  2. Identify critical issues such as drought, flooding, poor water quality, climate change impacts, and rapid urbanization
  3. Collaboratively develop interrelated strategies and plans such as source protection plans, natural heritage strategies, and climate change strategies to address those issues
  4. Collaboratively implement local actions such as water conservation, stewardship, rural water quality programs and green infrastructure/low impact development;
  5. Monitor and report on progress
  6. Update the plans and strategies as required.

The benefit of using an integrated watershed management approach is that it allows us to address a wide variety of connected issues with strategies and plans that are developed in relation to each other.

Fact sheet: Conservation Authorities contribute significantly to healthy Great Lakes

"An Integrated Watershed Management Approach to Great Lakes Protection: Conservation Ontario Recommendations for a Great Lakes Protection Act"

An Integrated Watershed Management Approach to Great Lakes Protection (April 2012)

An Integrated Watershed Management Approach to Great Lakes Protection: Conservation Ontario Recommendations for a Great Lakes Protection Act (April 2012)


Nearshore Monitoring

Nearshore Monitoring - Fact Sheet
Nearshore Monitoring - A Protocol for Assessing Lake Environments