Current Watershed Conditions
Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority (SSMRCA)
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What is a Conservation Authority?

Conservation Authorities are local, community-based environmental agencies. We work on a watershed basis in partnership with municipal and provincial governments. Under the Conservation Authorities Act a Conservation Authority can be created to undertake programs of natural resource management.

Key areas of Authority activity include:

Integrated Watershed Management - is an approach that recognizes and operates based on the interconnectedness of ecology, economy and society. It is the process of managing human activities and natural resources on a watershed basis. This approach allows us to protect important environmental resources, while at the same time addressing critical issues such as the current and future impacts of rapid growth and climate change.

Water Resource Managers - Conservation Authorities are community-based environmental experts who use science and historical data to manage Ontario's water resources on a watershed basis. This includes flood control and flood warning, drinking water source protection planning, and contributing to the municipal planning processes.

Lifelong Learning - Conservation Authorities across Ontario create educational experiences that enrich the lives of peoples of all ages, by instilling an appreciation and enjoyment of our diverse natural heritage.

What is a Watershed?

A watershed is an area of land that catches rain and snow and drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake or groundwater. Homes, farms, cottages, forests, small towns, big cities and more can make up watersheds. Some cross municipal, provincial and even international borders. They come in all shapes and sizes and can vary from millions of acres, like the land that drains into the Great Lakes, to a few acres that drain into a pond.

What is Watershed Management?

Watershed management in its simplest terms means managing wisely upstream so that downstream remains natural and healthy. The Conservation Ontario model has received worldwide recognition over its 50+ year history and the watershed is now recognized as one of the premier natural ecosystem units on which to manage resources.

What are the objectives of the Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority (SSMRCA)?

The objects of an authority as stated in the Conservation Authorities Act are: to establish and undertake, in the area over which it has jurisdiction, a program designed to further the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources other than gas, oil, coal and minerals. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.27, s. 20.

What is your governance structure?

Locally the SSMRCA operates under the direction of a Conservation Authority Board which is currently comprised of five municipal representatives, four from the City of Sault Ste. Marie and one from Prince Township.

How are you funded?

Historically, municipal and provincial governments shared the costs; every provincial dollar invested was at least match by municipal investment to ensure fair cost sharing of services that benefited the greater public good. Over the past decade the provincial share has been limited to flood control, flood warning and source water protection planning only. Previous provincial funding for conservation areas, recreation and conservation education have been eliminated. The municipal funding has grown to be the majority of the funding source for the SSMRCA. The CA generates revenue from permit fees and land use agreement fees.

Where are you located?

The SSMRCA is located on the north shore of the St. Marys River between Lake Superior and Huron, our boundaries encompass the Municipality of Sault Ste. Marie and part of the Township of Prince.

Our office is located in the northern section of the city at 1100 Fifth Line East in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Find directions with Google Maps.