What is IWM?

 CAs use integrated watershed management (IWM) to protect resources on a watershed basis

This is an illustration of the water cycle across a watershed.

This is an illustration of the water cycle across a watershed.

Integrated Watershed Management is the process of managing human activities and natural resources on a watershed basis, taking into account, social, economic and environmental issues, as well as community interests in order to manage water resources sustainably.

Through integrated watershed management (IWM), all community interests work together to identify what issues and actions are impacting the watershed’s resources, and then map out different strategies and plans to address those issues. These plans and strategies are implemented, monitored, reported on, and updated —on a regular basis— in order to adapt to changing land uses, new or increasing stressors, new information, or different management approaches.

IWM helps us to focus on priorities and link strategies and actions leading to smarter, science-based decisions that ensure a long and healthy future.
An IWM approach supports:

  • Improved water quality & quantity
  • Flood and erosion management
  • Resilient biodiversity and habitats
  • Sustainable economic and recreation opportunities
  • Improved quality of life and neighbourhood desirability

IWM offers a greater ability for Ontario’s watersheds to adapt to the impacts of climate change, urbanization and other stressors.

Stakeholder Input

To be successful, IWM requires collaborations and involvement of a wide variety of community interests and water users including municipalities, businesses, residents, agencies and landowners. They decide on the priority issues that need to be addressed, help to set goals, decide on what actions to take and implement locally.

Each Strategy and Plan is developed, implemented, monitored and updated through a cyclical process which keeps it up to date and responsive to local needs.

All of the Strategies and Plans are developed in relation to each other and to the overall watershed conditions, local land uses, and specific issues.

  • Source Protection Plan
  • Natural Heritage Strategy
  • Flood Management Plan
  • Low Water Strategy
  • Fisheries Management Plan
  • Shoreline Management Plan
  • Others