Box 11, 120 Bayview Parkway
Newmarket L3Y 4W3
Interest in Forestry: central
Conservation Ontario represents 36 Conservation Authorities of Ontario, community-based environmental organizations dedicated to conserving, restoring, developing and managing natural resources on a watershed basis.
A watershed is a natural unit of land defined by the area that drains into a river and its tributaries. Watershed management in its simplest terms means managing wisely upstream so that downstream remains natural and healthy. The Conservation Ontario watershed model has received worldwide recognition over its history and the watershed is now recognized as one of the premier natural ecosystem units on which to manage resources.
Historically, the Conservation Authorities Act was legislated by the provincial government in 1946 in response to the concern expressed by agricultural, naturalist and sportsmen`s groups, "that all the renewable natural resources of the province were in an unhealthy state ."As a result of poor land, water and forestry practices during the 1930s and 1940s, " acres of sand, barely tied down with grass cover and scrub trees were typical of much of Southern Ontario ". The Conservation Authorities Act provided the means by which the province and the municipalities of Ontario could join together to form a Conservation Authority within a specified area- the watershed- to undertake programs for natural resource management.
Today, 36 Conservation Authorities operate in watersheds in which 90 per cent of the provincial population reside. Managing Ontario`s watershed resources is a major undertaking that calls upon Conservation Authorities and their foresters, engineers, wildlife experts, ecologists, geologists, economists, chemists, agroscientists, planners, local municipal members, and volunteers to work together with farmers, developers, educators, lawyers, and ordinary citizens. There is a tremendously wide range of responsibilities and activities which includes:
* 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