The Lake Erie Action Plan identifies over 120 actions by Canada, Ontario and other partners, to meet binational 40% phosphorus load reduction targets. Wetlands are identified in the LEAP report as an important natural heritage feature in retaining and filtering runoff. The report also identifies the following priority actions:
- Support watershed and nearshore-based strategies and community-based planning for reducing phosphorus loads.
- Conduct research to better understand and predict the impact of climate change on the Lake Erie ecosystem
With wetland loss rates of more than 85% in many counties of southwestern Ontario, wetland restoration can play an important role in retaining non-point source phosphorus on the landscape. A changing climate increases the risk of phosphorus loss and the need for multiple best management practices to be selected for each site to maximize their effectiveness under variable conditions. The existing knowledge base for these practices and their collective impact needs to be updated as climate change progresses, consistent with an adaptive management approach. DUC is a leader in wetland conservation and restoration in Canada.
In 2017, DUC, in partnership with eight other conservation groups, identified candidate wetland restoration opportunities within the Lake Erie watershed and established a monitoring program to determine the nutrient retention capacity and the nutrient reduction efficiency of these restored systems. These restoration opportunities came directly from landowners who approached DUC or the conservation partner or were identified as part of another project being implemented on the property such as municipal drainage works, agricultural BMPs, or other stewardship activities. All project opportunities were first screened using desktop GIS tools to determine if a field site visit was warranted. DUC identified the 17 projects requiring the replacement of existing infrastructure based on engineering inspections and landowner feedback.