Marine ecosystems are as affected by human activity as terrestrial ecosystems.
In 1996, Canada's National Parks Act was designed to guide conservation and protection only on land. So that year, Nature Canada launched its Marine Conservation Program and began advocating for new legislation that would enable the creation of national marine conservation areas. Over the next several years we met with federal government policy decision-makers, gave testimony at hearings, and conducted a public awareness campaign about marine conservation areas.
Critical Water Protection Legislation
In 2000-01, Nature Canada staff personally worked with government policy makers to strengthen federal Bill C-10, "An Act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada", introduced in February 2001. Nature Canada devoted countless hours toward getting the National Marine Conservation Areas Act passed in 2002.
That same year, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien announced a commitment to establish five new marine parks over the next five years. For three years leading up to this announcement, we worked directly with government leaders to allocate new resources to Parks Canada so they could fulfill their protection mandate. By the end of March 2003 we secured firm commitments for $219 million over five years and $54 million in ongoing funding after that.
Establishing Marine Protected Areas
Canada’s progress in preserving marine ecosystems has been frustratingly slow. However, in 2007,the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area was established, extending roughly 140 kilometers east of Thunder Bay, protecting endangered trout populations, caribou, peregrine falcons, eagles and herons. At one million hectares it will be the largest freshwater marine conservation area in the world.
We continue to push for more marine conservation areas. Nature Canada, together with 19 other environmental and conservation organizations, has called for the establishment of a national system of marine protected areas by 2012. This would result in 14 new national marine conservation areas, including Bowie Seamount off the north coast of British Columbia and Iquali qluug off Baffin Island in Nunavut.
Preserving Wetlands at Important Bird Areas
Nature Canada’s Communities in Action Program preserves freshwater resources at Important Bird Areas across Canada. By supporting local community efforts to implement critical on-the-ground work inside some of Canada’s most beautiful marine environments, Nature Canada supporters are preserving bird habitat and precious water supplies for future generations.
Some of the more than 150 grassroots projects we support are located in Boundary Bay, British Columbia; Whitewater Lake, Manitoba; Eastern Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia; Wye Marsh, Ontario; and Chaplin Lake, Saskatchewan.
Responsible Water Recreation
The Living by Water Project provides Canadians with a wide range of tools, resources and information designed to help protect and restore shorelines across Canada.
The Living by Water Project focuses on shorelines along all types of water bodies – rivers, streams, creeks, canals, lakes, ponds, wetlands, reservoirs, estuaries and marine shore lands. Through the Living by Water web site, you can access programs, services and materials that explain the value of healthy shorelines, as well as handy tips and advice you can use to protect and restore your own shoreline property, prevent problems like erosion, and protect water quality, fish and wildlife habitat.
The program also gives local stewardship groups and cottage associations the means to carry out shoreline awareness and outreach programs in their own community.