A conservation authority is a local, community-based environmental agency based in Ontario, Canada. Conservation authorities represent groupings of municipalities on a watershed basis and work in partnership with other agencies to manage their respective watersheds.
The 1946 Conservation Authorities Act provides the means by which the province and municipalities of Ontario could join together to form a conservation authority within a specific area - the watershed - to undertake programs of natural resource management. The Act applies to all lands within any given authority's regulation limits.
Conservation authorities are mandated to ensure the conservation, restoration and responsible management of Ontario's water, land and natural habitats through programs that balance human, environmental and economic needs. There are currently 36 conservation authorities in Ontario. Management programs generally occur in lands known as conservation areas, restoration areas or wilderness areas, though not all lands managed are necessarily designated as such.
Key areas of Authority activity include:
Environmental protection — Conservation authorities protect local ecosystems and contribute to the quality of life in communities throughout the province.
Water Resource Management — Conservation authorities are Ontario's community-based environmental experts who use integrated, ecologically sound environmental practices to manage Ontario's water resources on a watershed basis, maintain secure supplies of clean water, protect communities from flooding and contribute to municipal planning processes (that protect water).
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