Canadian Priority Natural Area


"[The Priority Natural Area Initiative] is a monumental step toward our goal of preserving precious wetlands and natural habitat along both sides of the Detroit River and Lake Erie." - Congressman John Dingell


On September 27, 2012, a historic collaboration agreement for the Western Lake Erie Watersheds Priority Natural Area was signed by Canadian partners on BASF’s Fighting Island in LaSalle, Ontario, establishing the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Detroit River IWR acquisition boundary. 
“The Priority Natural Area initiative will provide federal, provincial, and local partners with a mechanism to work more closely with our U.S. neighbors and to complement progress being made in the U.S. on the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, and other related initiatives,” explained Richard Wyma, General Manager for the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA)
The Priority Natural Area initiative is a Canadian response to the Detroit River IWR and reflects Canada’s commitment to the Canada-U.S. Conservation Vision for the Lower Detroit River Ecosystem that was established in 2001, a binational conservation vision called for the establishment of the Detroit River IWR. The Priority Natural Area initiative builds on this foundation of Canada-U.S. cooperation on conserving natural resources, protecting the environment, and realizing numerous benefits.
Through this endeavor, Canadian partners including Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Essex Region Conservation Authority now have a mechanism to grow the refuge in Canada. This agreement is the first of its kind in Canada and can serve as a model for other areas.



Download a copy of the new Priority Natural Area Map. 


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