Jutting out from the north shore of Lake Erie in Ontario, Long Point is a 40-kilometre-long sand spit that is home to some of the largest and most ecologically unique wetlands in all of southern Canada. Since the early 2000s, these wetlands have been under threat due to growth of the invasive European Common Reed, or Phragmites. The plant spreads quickly and is known to reduce the abundance (number) and diversity (types) of native wetland plants and animals. In response, Joint Venture partners, led by the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, and supported by Ducks Unlimited Canada, initiated Canada’s largest invasive Phragmites control program. The partnership has transformed 1,500 hectares of dense monocultures of Phragmites “dead zones” back to functional wetland habitat. Additional locations are slated for future treatment.
Green-winged Teal – © Ducks Unlimited Canada
Uniquely situated in the ecozone between northern and southern Ontario, Matchedash Bay displays many characteristics of both landscapes. Recognized by the provincial government as one of the most significant wetlands on Georgian Bay, it is also a Ramsar Convention wetland of international importance as well as a Birdlife International IBA or Important Bird and Biodiversity Area.
Matchedash Bay was the North American Waterfowl Management Plan’s first EHJV Ontario project in 1988. In 1991 a management plan was developed for the Matchedash Bay Provincial Wildlife Area that called for the securement and management of wetland and adjacent upland habitat. By August 2020, Ontario Joint Venture partners, led by Ducks Unlimited Canada, have secured 2,153 hectares of wetland and wildlife habitat associated with Matchedash Bay.
The Charlottenburgh Marsh is a provincially significant 122.7-hectare riverine wetland within the St. Lawrence seaway’s Cooper Marsh Conservation Area. It is a high priority waterfowl habitat region in the Great Lakes and has become a popular destination among local school groups and visitors for hiking, birding, picnics and other outdoor recreational activities
In 2019, Ducks Unlimited Canada, the Raisin Region Conservation Authority and other local partners refurbished the wetland’s water-management infrastructure and took action to reduce Phragmites, an invasive species that had infiltrated sections of the Marsh. Significant restoration work repaired and improved the 925-metre earthen dike and the Phragmites was sprayed to help control its footprint.
Amherst Island Marsh, Ontario – © Ducks Unlimited Canada
The restoration work brought together support from sources beyond the Joint Venture partnership, including Environment and Climate Change Canada and community partners Axalta Coating Systems and the Crabtree Foundation. Protecting the natural habitat and removing invasive species ensures that the Marsh will continue to support a healthy ecosystem with abundant wildlife, including 130 bird species recorded on site, while providing recreational and educational opportunities.
For more information about the ON-EHJV, see the Ontario Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Five-Year ImplementationPlan 2006 – 2010 and the Ontario Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Progress Report 2005 – 2006
Ontario EHJV Coordinator
Natural Heritage Section
Resources Planning & Development Policy Branch
Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry