The Ontario government and the Nature Conservancy of Canada are helping to conserve biodiversity by identifying high-quality natural areas in the Great Lakes region, Natural Resources minister David Ramsay announced Monday.
“We have identified a number of sites that can support a broad range of natural biodiversity, including species at risk,” said Ramsay.
“The Great Lakes Conservation Blueprint for Biodiversity is a valuable tool that governments, organizations, and individuals can use in planning and developing strategies to further protect Ontario’s rich variety of plants, animals, and ecosystems while supporting the region’s sustainable development,” he added.
Biodiversity sustains life on Earth and has a direct impact on the health of Ontarians. It is the variety of life at all levels—from the smallest bug to the largest forest.
The four-volume Great Lakes Conservation Blueprint for Biodiversity is the first effort to map and analyze data on the variety of ecosystems and special biodiversity features across the Canadian side of the Great Lakes Basin.
Based on the best science currently available, it complements an earlier assessment of the American side of the basin completed by the Nature Conservancy in the United States.
“The completion of this blueprint represents a major step forward for conservation in one of the most important areas of our country for biodiversity,” said Michael Bradstreet, the NCC’s regional vice-president for Ontario.
“Identifying the most significant areas of biodiversity is the critical first step in devising effective conservation strategies, and building consensus on where we need to focus our efforts,” he added.
“The blueprint builds on our conservation achievements on Crown and private lands in Ontario, and will contribute to the goals of Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy, the Natural Spaces program, and the Greenbelt,” noted Ramsay.
“It will help protect what sustains us so we can continue to enjoy clean water and air, an abundance of wildlife, and places for recreation for generations to come.”