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Wetland and Stormwater Enhancement

Welcome to the page for the the Urban and Rural Stormwater Improvements (URSI) for Lake Huron project; and the Healthy Headwaters Wetlands Initiative.

We can help you with your stormwater management improvements and wetland enhancement projects:

Wetland and stormwater projects can include a wide variety of features providing different services depending on the property and needs and wants of you, the landowner.

Projects can range from small excavations filled with water and native plants, providing habitat to a wide variety of species, or sediment ponds that trap and treat runoff before it flows into our creeks and streams. 

Contact us:

To find out about stormwater enhancements you can make on your property - and to find out about grants and technical advice - please contact Megan or Angela at Ausable Bayfield Conservation: 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.

Wetlands Resources
  • For resources on wetlands and other stormwater management improvements, visit our Links page and our Wetlands and Stormwater Improvements Resources page by clicking button below: Wetlands Resources

Visit our Wetlands Resources Page

Wetlands Projects
  • Visit our Wetlands Projects Page to find out what your neighbours are doing in Middlesex, Huron, and Lambton counties - simply click on the button below:

Visit our wetlands projects page by clicking on button.

Interested in a project on your property?

Eligible Projects
1. Wetland creation  
  • Small impoundments - Restricting water flow out of low-lying areas to retain surface water on land
  • Excavated wetlands - Removal of earth to create a water retention area
2. Treat runoff on farm fields
  • Creation of water retention ponds, sediment ponds and filter strips to capture sediments and filter runoff
3. Enhance flood plain habitat  
  • Enhance the storage availability or vegetation diversity in flood plains, valley areas, wetlands, oxbows, and woodland swamps.
  • Enhancements using small, low-cost water impoundment structures
4. Create conservation buffers 
  • Creation of small areas or strips of permanent vegetation, designed to control pollutants and manage other environmental concerns.
5. Install fencing to exclude livestock from watercourses  
  • Includes fencing, low-water crossings and creating an alternative watering source.

If you are interested in learning more please visit our Wetlands Resources page for links and downloads about wetlands.

Volunteer Opportunities

Looking to become more engaged with a wetland on your property or an area nearby? Contact Angela at to learn more about helping us collect data on amphibians or wetland water levels.

Juvenile duck

Wetlands Photo Album

Click on this link for the Facebook photo gallery of wetlands photos:

Partners and Funding

The Urban and Rural Stormwater Improvements (URSI) for Lake Huron project; and the Healthy Headwaters Wetlands Initiative; would not be possible without the generous support from many partner agencies and organizations. We would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them.  

Funders of wetlands and stormwater management improvementsBenefits of wetlands or stormwater projects:

Wetlands have many benefits locally. Projects by local landowners help to protect existing wetlands and create new ones. Wetlands provide many benefits to both natural areas and the landowner. Wetlands have the ability to absorb and store water during storm or flood events as well as release needed water during drier times. This helps to reduce damage from both flooding and droughts. Wetlands filter water and that helps to remove contaminants. 


  • Provide water storage.
  • Replenish groundwater supplies.
  • Reduce flooding and soil erosion by holding water, slowing down the heavy surface flows.
  • Protect and improve water quality by acting as a natural filter for water running off of roads, lawns, fields, and parking lots.
  • Manage runoff can that could otherwise carry pollutants such as harmful chemicals and bacteria.
  • Protect habitat for ducks and other waterfowl as well as more than 600 species of plants and animals. 
  • Store carbon. Absorb carbon; reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
  • Offer many recreational opportunities such as fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, canoeing, or photography.
  • Lower infrastructure and maintenance costs and increase property values. 
What are wetlands?

Wetlands are areas of land that are wet for all or a portion of the year. Wetlands tend to have soils that drain poorly and support water-loving plants such as Cattails, Sedges, Rushes, Blue Flag Iris, Willows, and Dogwoods. In addition to water quality and water quantity benefits, and capture of carbon, wetlands provide habitat for wildlife including birds, frogs, deer, and waterfowl.

Wetlands are one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems in Ontario, providing habitat for waterfowl and more than 600 species of plants, animals and insects, some of which are species at risk.

Wetland restoration and enhancement is a community effort which will benefit downstream areas of our watershed. These areas support species-at-risk mussels and fishes and their habitats; are near Provincially Significant Wetlands or expand other natural areas. Each individual wetland project is a step towards improving the water quality of our entire watershed.

Healthy Headwaters Initiative

The Healthy Headwaters Initiative is an opportunity for rural and non-rural landowners to preserve, restore, or enhance wetlands or create stormwater features on their property. Ausable Bayfield Conservation has partnered with many funders to provide landowners with technical advice, including site visits, elevation surveys and project coordination to assist with the completion of a project through the Healthy Headwaters Wetlands Initiative.

Throughout Southwestern Ontario, the highly productive agricultural landscape in pre-settlement times had more than 20 per cent wetland coverage. Today, at about two per cent wetland coverage, it is a priority to engage landowners interested in restoring wetlands.

Thanks for your support of the Healthy Headwaters Wetlands Initiative

Urban and Rural Stormwater Improvements (URSI) for Lake Huron

To read about the Urban and Rural Stormwater Improvements (URSI) for Lake Huron project please click on this link:

Thanks for your support of the Urban and Rural Stormwater Improvements (URSI) for Lake Huron project.

Updated: March 8, 2019