Canada-Ontario agreement on Great Lakes: annex 7

Annex 7: habitat and species

The purpose of this annex is to continue efforts to restore, protect and conserve the resilience of Great Lakes native species and their habitats.

The Great Lakes support a rich diversity of fish, wildlife and plant species. Thriving habitats and native fish and wildlife communities contribute to the social and economic vitality of the Great Lakes region. Unfortunately, many human activities put pressures on the ecosystem and result in the loss or degradation of habitats, fragmentation of natural systems, threats from invasive species, and reductions in the health and abundance of native species.

Collaborative efforts are underway to restore, protect and conserve the diversity of habitats and species that make up the Great Lakes aquatic ecosystems while providing sustainable social, ecological and economic benefits.

Biodiversity conservation strategies identify actions needed to restore, protect and conserve the native biodiversity of each Great Lake. The most critical biodiversity threats and needs of each lake are determined through a binational, collaborative, science-based process. Strategies have been completed for Lake Huron and Lake Ontario. Implementation plans identify ecologically significant areas, with a primary role for Lakewide Action and Management Plans (LAMPs) to promote actions, report on progress, and identify resource needs to conserve these resources (see lakewide management annex).

Canada and Ontario also support other strategic conservation planning initiatives such as natural heritage system planning, the National Framework for Canada’s Network of Marine Protected Areas and the Great Lakes Wetlands Conservation Action Plan. Collaboration through the Great Lakes Fishery Commission facilitates international shared management of fisheries through mechanisms under the Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries. Canada and Ontario also cooperate on activities to ensure the effective protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats in Ontario.

Invasive species represent a continued threat to native species and ecosystems, and are addressed in the aquatic invasive species annex. Climate change is resulting in changes to physical conditions in the Great Lakes, such as temperature, precipitation, ice coverage and water levels, which in turn affect habitats and species. Research and adaptation actions are included in the climate change impacts annex.

This annex contains commitments to continue working on the completion and implementation of biodiversity conservation strategies, supported by research and monitoring programs that investigate the threats to aquatic habitats and species, identify methods for threat mitigation, and prioritize opportunities for restoration. The parties will continue to use existing reporting mechanisms (for example, LAMPs) to report progress on the commitments in this annex.

Goal 1: Restore, protect and conserve great lakes aquatic and terrestrial habitats that support aquatic dependant species.

Result 1.1 - Identification of high quality habitats in need of protection, priority areas for restoration and habitat creation, and the most significant stressors to native species and habitats.

Canada and Ontario will:

Result 1.2 - Protection, enhancement and/or restoration of populations of native species and degraded habitats.

Canada and Ontario will:

Canada will:

Ontario will:

Result 1.3 - Promotion of informed and effective collaboration amongst governments and the Great Lakes community that will lead to actions that restore, protect and conserve the resilience of native species and habitats.

Canada and Ontario will:

Ontario will:

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