The online comments included 3 duplicates (the same comment twice by the same person), and the written comments included 6 duplicates (the same comment submitted twice by same person). There were 14 comments submitted in duplicate to both the registry and by email or mail.
The proposed Wetland Conservation Strategy for Ontario 2017-2030 included a vision, strategic directions, goals and desired outcomes for wetlands in Ontario and established actions the Ontario government will undertake by 2030 to improve wetland conservation across the province. This includes increasing knowledge and understanding of wetland ecosystems and raising awareness about the importance of wetlands. It also includes building strong and effective wetland policies, encouraging cooperation at all levels of government and supporting strategic partnerships in a shared responsibility for conserving wetlands.
The purpose of this Environmental Registry posting was to give notice and invite comment on the draft Wetland Conservation Strategy. The comments were generally supportive of the proposal. Some suggestions for change were provided. The following is a summery of substantive comments on this proposal and MNRF’s response.
In general, there was strong support for the proposed framework and priority actions, as well as support for the broader landscape level approach to wetland conservation. There was also:
• Strong advocacy for the need to integrate with existing government initiatives; and
• Recognition of the role of partners in wetland conservation
As a result of this input, MNRF has revised the vision, added content about linkages between wetland conservation and other government priorities, and highlighted the role of partners in wetland conservation.
Feedback regarding proposed targets for wetland conservation included:
• Strong support for the use of targets to enhance wetland conservation; and
• A net gain approach is required in southern Ontario to improve conservation.
As a result of this input, MNRF has strengthened the targets to include a baseline, more aggressive timeline and achieve a net gain in areas where wetland loss has been the greatest.
Feedback regarding the development of a wetland offsetting policy:
• Broad support, with recognition that the details of the policy will determine direction and success;
• Focus on avoidance, minimization and mitigation with compensation only as a last resort; and
• All sectors requested continued involvement in development of offsetting policy.
As a result of this input, MNRF has clarified that the development of a wetland offsetting policy will be a distinct process, and involve further consultation with all sectors.