BARRIE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 7, 2012) - During a historic event today at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., Peter Kent, Canada's Minister of the Environment and Lisa P. Jackson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, reaffirmed a commitment to restore and enhance water quality in the Great Lakes system by signing the amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) commends the commitment made by the Governments of Canada and the United States of America to the well-being of the Great Lakes ecosystem.
"We have been a proud member of the Great Lakes Canadian Stakeholder Advisory Panel for the negotiations to amend the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement," says Mark Gloutney, director of regional operations for DUC in the eastern region. "We are excited to see explicit inclusion of wetlands as a key important habitat in the agreement. Seeing the value of wetlands recognized and a commitment to supporting healthy productive wetlands under the objectives of the agreement is a significant inclusion for DUC."
Science clearly indicates that the Great Lakes, and particularly shoreline wetlands, are critically important to the health of Ontario's environment and economy. Wetlands help clean our air and drinking water, recharge ground water supplies and ease the effects of flooding and drought. They are also important habitat for wildlife and offer ecotourism and recreational opportunities. Despite a growing awareness of their value, wetlands continue to be lost. A 2010 DUC research study shows 72 per cent of southern Ontario's large inland wetlands have been lost or converted to other land uses over the last 200 years and this loss continues. Extensive loss of wetland habitat throughout the Great Lakes basin has played a significant part in declining water quality in all five lakes.
"This is a historic event and DUC looks forward to a commitment of resources through updated federal and provincial agreements to accomplish the objectives of this accord," adds Gloutney. "DUC will work with the federal and provincial governments to ensure critical wetlands, both on the coastline and within the Great Lakes basin, are protected, restored and managed for future generations."
As part of a larger international Ducks Unlimited family, DUC takes a continental approach to wetland conservation and brings resources and perspectives to the Great Lakes from both sides of the border.
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. Learn more at www.ducks.ca.