OSHAWA, ON, Nov. 24 /CNW/ - Wetlands in communities across southern Ontario will be better able to sustain wildlife and water resources that support local economies and quality of life thanks to an investment of up to $3 million. The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced that this contribution for Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) will create and maintain jobs and will aid the conservation of 72 wetlands on 5,445 acres in the region.
"Our government is committed to creating jobs and supporting the people, communities and businesses of southern Ontario," said Minister Goodyear. "This investment will stimulate the economy today, while benefiting residents and protecting our wetlands and wildlife for the future."
Through this investment under the Southern Ontario Development Program (SODP), Ducks Unlimited Canada will renew and repair critical wetland infrastructure by replacing water control structures and beaver fences, upgrading safety guards and repairing dykes. The renovation and repair of wetlands will provide immediate economic stimulus to local communities throughout southern Ontario via job creation, material procurement and project supervision. The Government of Canada's contribution is contingent on the successful completion of the necessary environmental assessment of the proposed projects.
Wetlands provide habitats for a diverse number of species, including species at risk, while contributing to a number of essential societal services that help to ensure sustainable, healthy communities.
"DUC is renowned for its wetland restoration work across Canada," said Tom Worden, Senior Ontario Director, Ducks Unlimited Canada. "Equally important to this is maintaining the integrity of these habitats once restored. This investment will fund improvement projects at 72 wetlands across southern Ontario to ensure they have a long and productive life."
DUC, Canada's leading wetland conservation organization, has been committed to ensuring the protection and preservation of wetland habitats for more than 70 years. Ducks Unlimited Canada works to achieve better wetland habitat for the benefit of wildlife and people, through preservation, scientific research, public policy and education.
For additional details on Ducks Unlimited Canada, please refer to the backgrounder.
The Southern Ontario Development Program was established to promote economic development, economic diversification, job creation and sustainable communities in Southern Ontario. The SODP is just one in a series of initiatives introduced in the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan designed to address the short-term effects of the economic decline on communities across Canada, while preparing our communities for long-term growth.
For more information on the SODP and details regarding the intake processes, please visit the FedDev Ontario web site at www.southernontario.gc.ca or phone 1-866-593-5505. For additional information on Canada's Economic Action plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.
This news release is available online at: www.southernontario.gc.ca and www.actionplan.gc.ca.
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is a non-profit organization that conserves, restores and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America's waterfowl and wildlife. DUC has an extensive existing inventory of wetland projects across Ontario (2,067 projects on nearly 1 million acres).
Wetland habitats are essential for the survival of waterfowl and many other species of wildlife. Wetlands protect clean water resources, provide groundwater recharge, prevent flooding and erosion and provide low-flow augmentation of watercourses during periods of drought. They offer recreational opportunities such as bird watching, hunting and fishing. They provide air quality benefits and contribute to carbon sequestration. Communities accrue direct benefits when adequate wetlands are present on the landscape through the contribution wetlands make to healthy water resources. Downstream residents benefit from improved water quality. Despite the essential role that wetland play in the wellbeing of human and wildlife, Ontario has lost from 60% to 90% of its wetlands in the southern parts of the province.
Ducks Unlimited Canada has been a leader in habitat conservation projects since 1938. DUC's wetland conservation programs are based on science and supported by ongoing research from the Institute for Waterfowl and Wetlands Research. DUC also sponsors education programs to sponsor wetland field trips and support learning about wetlands in the grade 4/5 curriculum in Canadian public schools.
Working in partnership with more than 17,200 landowners across the country, DUC has completed 7,139 conservation projects across Canada, which represents nearly 25 million acres of natural habitat. In Ontario, DUC has conserved nearly 1 million acres of habitat in partnership with over 1800 private and public landowners.
For all of these acres, conservation agreements are negotiated with the landowners to ensure the habitat remains protected for the term of the agreement: usually up to 25 years. When agreements expire, or land changes hands, DUC renegotiates with the landowners.
In Ontario, DUC's conservation vision over the next 25 years is to restore over 700,000 acres of wetlands that are estimated to be needed to sustain waterfowl populations, not to mention the essential water quality benefits provided to humans. The 3.5 billion dollar price tag for this work does not include the cost of maintaining existing projects. DU-Ontario estimates over 5 million dollars is need to rebuild wetland projects in southern Ontario that are nearing their life expectancy (up to 30 years). In most cases, these projects will have water control structures that need updating or should be replaced. The Southern Ontario Development Program funds will allow DUC to complete nearly 80% of this work.
Ducks Unlimited Canada is supported nationally by 150,000 supporters and 8,600 volunteers, and governed by a Board of approximately 75 volunteer directors from across Canada.
To learn more about Ducks Unlimited Canada, please visit the website at www.ducks.ca or call 1-800-665-DUCK (3825).
SOURCE FEDERAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY FOR SOUTHERN ONTARIO
For further information: For further information: For media enquiries, contact: Gary Toft, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, (613) 943-7599; Media Relations, Industry Canada, (613) 943-2505