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The Importance of the Great Lakes

 playing on beach

 
The Great Lakes are vitally important to all Ontarians
for our drinking water, quality of life, and prosperity.



 

Did you know?
  • 40% of the country’s economic activity takes place in Ontario’s Great Lakes Basin
  • 4,000 species of plants, fish and wildlife live it the Great Lakes Basin
  • 80% of Ontarians get their drinking water from lakes Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario.


heronBeachway Park in Burlington is a special place, sometimes referred to as the jewel of the city. It is a popular spot for walking, beach activities and special events. The beach itself is part of a formation called a Baymouth Bar which is a pure sand feature, formed through natural processes of erosion and deposition. These sand bars are often associated with large wetlands, which support large numbers of plant and animal species, as well as providing important rest areas for migratory birds.

The Burlington Beach Waterfront Park Master Plan identifies the Beach and primary dunes to be the most sensitive areas to development and that special precautions and rehabilitation efforts are required. Small remnant areas support native dune and shoreline plant species.


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The Ontario Great Lakes Draft Strategy identifies many important environmental implications that are relevant to our 5 restoration events held at Beachway Park from 2013 to 2016. Our city’s population is on the rise, placing greater pressures directly and indirectly on the popular waterfront area. The Strategy identifies stress on the lake from growing water demand and unwanted phosphorus and contamination issues associated with high beach activity. As well, the Strategy notes the negative impact of invasive species in the area.



The removal of invasive species is important because they can compromise the ecological balance of the region and put the native species that exist in that area at risk. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, invasive species move into ecosystems and take over, killing some native species. They disrupt food webs, degrade habitat, introduce parasites and disease, and lead to species being at risk. Globally, only habitat loss is a bigger threat to biodiversity.

amy plantingPlanting native trees, shrubs and grasses helps to restore the natural area by providing food and habitat for native wildlife and by protecting water quality by controlling soil erosion. In addition, they add beauty to the landscape while preserving our natural heritage.

                      

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