In the watersheds of the Toronto and Region Area of Concern, the development and implementation of the Terrestrial Natural Heritage Strategy (TNHS), Watershed Management Plans, and Fisheries Management Plans have resulted in benefits to fish and wildlife populations and habitats.

These include the removal of barriers to fish migration in rivers, the restoration and naturalization of rivers and valley corridors, and the restoration and creation of terrestrial habitat through planting and reforestation and management efforts to address stormwater runoff.


In addition, major initiatives like the Oak Ridges Moraine Protection Act, 2001, Greenbelt legislation and establishment of the Rouge National Urban Park provide protection for large areas of natural cover.


Blandings turtle


Terrestrial Natural Heritage Strategy

In January 2007, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) approved its Terrestrial Natural Heritage Strategy (TNHS) which identifies the lands that need to be protected and restored to form a comprehensive and connected natural heritage system in the TRCA jurisdiction. A key recommendation of the 2007 RAP Progress Report was the need to incorporate the TNHS into municipal Official Plans.


Since 2007, TRCA has worked closely with its partner municipalities on Official Plan reviews to incorporate natural heritage system principles and approaches into updated schedules and accompanying policies. This work has used the TRCA Terrestrial Natural Heritage System as a foundation from which municipalities identify a refined system that addresses municipal objectives and priorities.


The end result is that the majority of all partner municipalities within the Toronto and Region AOC have adopted a natural systems approach to ecosystem protection.

Watershed Plans

Watershed plans assess and communicate watershed conditions and the factors (or drivers) that can affect watershed health, like climate change, agricultural practices, and urban growth. The aspects that are affected by water or depend on water for their health and survival are considered in the development of watershed plans, such as flooding and erosion hazards, water quality, and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.


These plans provide directions to TRCA, its partner municipalities and other private, public and civil society partners and stakeholders about how the watershed should be managed to protect, enhance, and restore watershed health.


TRCA has a great deal of experience and knowledge about watershed planning and has led the development of watershed plans in its jurisdiction since the 1980s, periodically updating these plans to reflect and adapt to changes in watershed conditions, key drivers and policy.


The last generation of TRCA watershed plans was completed between 2007 and 2012. TRCA is currently in the process of developing the framework for the next generation of its watershed planning program that will be used to guide the development and implementation of future watershed plans.