WM Futures Q&A

Watershed Management Futures Questions & Answers

Conservation Ontario Whitepaper to promote discussion Watershed Management Futures for Ontario

What is Conservation Ontario’s Whitepaper?
Why do Conservation Authorities want to have a discussion with the Province?
Who are the targets for the Whitepaper?
What are the challenges to Ontario’s watershed management framework that the whitepaper identifies?
What specifically is the Whitepaper requesting?
What does the whitepaper suggest Conservation Authorities, themselves, have to do?
What is the role of municipalities?
What is the role of other agencies?
Why do we need to protect land and water resources in Ontario?
What types of watershed management programs and services do Conservation Authorities deliver?

What is Conservation Ontario’s Whitepaper?

Working with Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities, Conservation Ontario has produced a Whitepaper entitled “Watershed Management Futures for Ontario”.

The purpose of this paper is to spur discussion between Conservation Authorities and the Province about how to more effectively manage Ontario’s watersheds by leveraging local and provincial resources in order to create efficiencies in Ontario’s watershed management services and programs.

It is suggested that discussions focus on the roles and responsibilities for managing Ontario’s watersheds, as well as how to redefine relationships between Conservation Authorities and provincial ministries in order to leverage local and provincial resources around watershed management.

While the management of Ontario’s watersheds involves a very wide range of participants, this whitepaper specifically addresses what Conservation Authorities can provide to the Province.

To move forward, the whitepaper acknowledges that the dialogue must include municipalities and other stakeholders and asks that the province take a leadership role in establishing the dialogue at the earliest possible date. Through this dialogue it is our goal to more effectively leverage local and provincial efforts to protect Ontario’s natural resources.

Why do Conservation Authorities want to have a discussion with the Province?

Ontario’s economic realities are creating budget constraints at all levels of government and there is a need to streamline operations, share resources and leverage expertise.

New working relationships at provincial and local levels are needed in order to address increasingly complex watershed conditions created by climate change and growing populations.

Maintaining the status quo and continuing on the current path will result in expensive and serious consequences.

There are a number of specific challenges within the existing watershed management policy and governance framework in Ontario that Conservation Authorities feel need to be addressed. These challenges are currently compromising the Conservation Authorities’ ability to effectively and efficiently manage its water and other natural resources for continued environmental, economic, and social benefits. The current fiscal restraint further exacerbates these challenges.   There is an opportunity for changes in the way we practice watershed management in Ontario. The call for greater government efficiency and effectiveness from the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services (2012) is spurring a modernization and transformational change across the Ontario provincial government, creating an opportunity for the Province and Conservation Authorities to re- assess our traditional approaches to watershed management in Ontario.

In addition, the provincial government, itself, is currently targeting issues around the Great Lakes and climate change impacts.

With some strategic investments in Conservation Authority programs, the Conservation Authorities offer a unique opportunity for the Province to leverage CA resources in order to continue to meet provincial environmental agendas despite a more restrained fiscal base.

Who are the targets for the Whitepaper?

The primary target for the Whitepaper is the Province, particularly the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of Environment.

Other provincial ministries that impact watershed management in Ontario are also targets for this whitepaper and include: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Ministry of Infrastructure.

Outside of government, the paper acknowledges that in order to move forward, the dialogue must also include municipalities, environmental agencies, agricultural and rural associations, etc. Conservation Authorities work in close partnership with local governments, agencies and other stakeholders.

What are the challenges to Ontario’s watershed management framework that the whitepaper identifies?

The whitepaper identifies a number of specific challenges with the existing watershed management policy and governance framework in Ontario. These include:

legislative mandate of Conservation Authorities; declining provincial funding for provincial priorities; inconsistent provincial policy support and interpretation; and variability in Conservation Authority capacity.

These challenges compromise our collective ability to effectively and efficiently manage water and other natural resources for environmental, economic and societal benefits.

What specifically is the Whitepaper requesting?

That the Ontario government and Conservation Authorities talk about roles and responsibilities for managing Ontario’s watersheds, and redefine relationships between Conservation Authorities and provincial ministries in order to leverage provincial and local resources in order to implement a sustainable, responsive, and effective watershed future for the benefit of all Ontarians.

The whitepaper is requesting discussion around five key inter-related items:

Confirmation of the Conservation Authority mandate and the importance of the CA model that promotes an integrated watershed management approach to protect Ontario’s watersheds

Enhancements to Conservation Authority- Ministry Relationships

Renewed Conservation Authority – Ministry of Natural Resources relationship focusing on restructuring of local delivery models, hazard management responsibilities, Conservation Authority support for a role in the implementation of the provincial climate change strategy, governance and accountability.   Formalized Conservation Authority – Ministry of Environment relationships focusing on source protection and Great Lakes program implementation, formalization of important environmental monitoring and reporting roles, implementation of the provincial climate change strategy as it pertains to MOE.

New formalized relationships with other Ministries such as MMAH, OMAFRA, and Ministry of Infrastructure around common activities such as planning and development, infrastructure and stewardship.

Revamped Conservation Authority Governance Model: Evaluate and assess the broader and localized governance structures of Conservation Authorities in order to be more inclusive of wider stakeholder holder involvement.

Development of a Sustainable Funding Model: Discussions should take place on developing a cost sharing model that takes local ability to pay into account, and this should be permanent, rather than project-based. Also need to address Conservation Authority flood hazard infrastructure by including CA assets in the pool of municipally owned infrastructure or another appropriate asset management framework.

Improved Accountability Framework: Governance, finance, mandate, and accountability are all closely linked and need to be considered in an integrated fashion.

What does the whitepaper suggest Conservation Authorities, themselves, have to do?

It is recognized that such a sweeping review of watershed management in Ontario has implications for the Conservation Authority model itself, the refinement of which must certainly be on the table.

Conservation Authorities are already pursuing internal discussions on ways to address current deficiencies to provide a more consistent level of service.

What is the role of municipalities?

Conservation Authorities deliver watershed programs on behalf of their member municipalities, who have responsibility for appointing representatives to CA Boards and providing funding to support CA programs.

This relationship is critical to the success of the Conservation Authority’s programs, and to this end, we are circulating the whitepaper for your consideration and to make you aware that the provincial dialogue is being initiated.

What is the role of other agencies?

Conservation Authorities partner with numerous provincial and local environmental, rural, agricultural and other organizations and agencies. Conservation Authorities have identified an integrated watershed management approach as the most efficient and effective way to manage issues around water and related resources while providing stakeholders with timely and meaningful opportunities to participate in decision making.

It is important to include other stakeholders in a broader discussion of watershed management approaches in Ontario. Conservation Authorities will be engaging these stakeholders around the whitepaper.

Why do we need to protect land and water resources in Ontario?

Ontario’s water and land resources and natural systems provide important ecological, economic and societal benefits and should be protected. Forests, water resources, wetlands, soils, plants and animals are all necessary to produce goods and services such as clean sustainable water supplies, clean air, food, fuel, energy and healthy green spaces.   Threats to Ontario’s water and land resources such as urbanization and climate change are significant and growing larger. Managing impacts on natural ecosystems is the key to ensuring sustainable resources for drinking water, agricultural production, municipal needs, and industrial uses. Keeping water clean and sustainable also requires ensuring healthy land resources needed to protect water quality and quantity.

What types of watershed management programs and services do Conservation Authorities deliver?

Conservation Authorities deliver practical, cost effective programs and services totalling approximately $300 million per year.

Conservation Authorities often work in partnership with all levels of government, landowners and other agencies.

The types of programs that most Conservation Authorities offer include:

Watershed Strategies & Management Flood & Erosion Protection Reforestation & Sustainable Woodlot Management Stormwater Management Natural Heritage Protection Information Management, GIS Outdoor Recreation Sensitive Wetlands, flood plains, valley lands protection Watershed Monitoring & Reporting Rural Water Quality and Quantity Environmental Regulations and Land Use Planning Agriculture & Rural Landowner Stewardship Assistance Land Management Soil Conservation Environmental Education & Outreach

Conservation Authorities are the second largest landowner group next to the provincial government with landholdings totalling 146,000 sq km. These natural areas provide important ecological features and systems that contribute to the overall health of Ontario’s watersheds.

In 2011, Conservation Authorities: planted over 3 million trees with 2,000 landowners; implemented over 600 water quality improvement projects implemented $5.4 million in habitat restoration projects around wetlands, shoreline habitats, stream & fish habitat operate 422 sites in the Provincial Groundwater Monitoring Network; and 404 sites in the Provincial Surface Water Quality Monitoring Program monitor benthic invertebrates at 1,117 sites (tiny organisms that live in or on the bottom sediments of rivers, streams and lakes and serve as an indicator of the overall aquatic environment) offer 2,500 hiking trails and 8, 400 campsites in their many Conservation Areas delivered environmental education programs to 485,000 Ontario students with 4,000 schools

Over 6.8 million Ontarians visited a Conservation Area in 2011.

 

seo.wenlink.com 售卖中