Parks Canada Conservation and Restoration Funding in Central and Eastern Ontario -Total Estimated Funding: $6M



Parks Canada’s Georgian Bay and Ontario East Field Unit operates three national parks (Georgian Bay Islands, Bruce Peninsula and Thousand Islands), one national marine conservation area (Fathom Five National Marine Park) and four national historic sites (Bellevue House, Laurier House, Bethune Memorial House and Fort Wellington). Extending from the Québec / Ontario border, including the National Capital as far west as Lake Huron, and from the St. Lawrence River to the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula, the Georgian Bay and Ontario East Field Unit also owns and maintains 11 other national historic sites in this region. The field unit actively works with many First Nations and Métis communities and non-governmental organizations to support local conservation initiatives that protect Canada’s natural and cultural heritage.


Project Name: On the Road Again

Estimated Total: $ 1.8M

Project Locations: Bruce Peninsula, Georgian Bay Islands, Thousand Islands national parks

Project Description: Across Ontario, many reptiles and amphibians are facing population declines due to altered and fragmented landscapes. This project will address major threats to reptiles and amphibians at Bruce Peninsula, Georgian Bay Islands and Thousand Islands national parks, by combining significant conservation efforts across a broad landscape. Parks Canada conservation specialists will work collaboratively with local First Nations and Métis, environmental non-governmental organizations, and community groups to address up to twenty recovery actions in the parks’ multi species at risk action plans. A species at risk action plan outlines projects or activities required to meet the goals and objectives needed to stop or reverse the decline of a species. Through this funding, actions to be taken include installing new under-road animal passageways, called eco-passages that will help species safely cross roadways, supporting habitat restoration, and implementing large scale public engagement initiatives. This will contribute to the recovery of 10 species at risk by reducing mortality, improving habitat connectivity, increasing population recruitment, and fostering public awareness and appreciation of herptiles.

This project builds upon the success of a similar project initiated by Parks Canada in 2018 that resulted in the installation of eight eco-passages, the protection of hundreds of turtle eggs, and habitat restoration in Bruce Peninsula National Park. Thousand Islands National Park has also implemented a successful turtle egg protection program that resulted in over 200 turtle hatchlings being released into their natural habitats in 2019.

Project Name: Two eyes on Lake Whitefish

Estimated Total: $ 4.2M

Project Location: Fathom Five National Marine Park

Project Description: Two Eyes on Lake Whitefish will study recent declines in Lake Whitefish by exploring key uncertainties regarding Lake Huron’s Lake Whitefish populations. This project will apply the principle of “two-eyed seeing”, which means to share and exchange traditional knowledge with scientific analysis of fisheries data to generate a more integrative understanding of recent declines in Lake Whitefish and foster a collaborative learning relationship. Parks Canada will work with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation and other partners, including the provincial government, academic institutions such as Trent University, and government and academic organizations in the United States that have a shared vested interest in the overall health of Lake Huron. By researching the cause of population decline, Parks Canada and our partners will be able to study and understand the data in order to propose intervention actions that could minimize species decline and support Lake Whitefish recovery.

The main elements of the project will involve:

·  Gathering traditional knowledge to learn the historical and contemporary use of the waters in the Saugeen Ojibway Nation’s traditional territory in relation to the key species for this project, as well as other species of cultural or conservation concern in Lake Huron;

·  Studying whitefish larval to better understand the threats to Lake Whitefish during one of their most vulnerable life stages; and,

·  Tracking Lake Whitefish movements throughout Lake Huron using telemetry tracking technology. Tracking will be achieved by placing tracking tags on individual Whitefish. High-tech buoys deployed throughout Lake Huron and Georgian Bay will then record the location of tagged fish and broadcast accurate geolocation data of fish movements back to researchers on land. These data will help identify key habitats, population dynamics, species interactions and harvest vulnerabilities in Lake Huron. This monitoring will provide lake-wide information on species connectivity and identify priority areas for conservation actions within the national marine park and, more broadly, in Lake Huron.


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