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Coastal Wetland Cover and Plants

wetlands - aerial view

Wetlands, photo credit: Becky Pollock

Join the Adopt-A-Pond Program

The Adopt-A-Pond wetland conservation program is run by the Toronto Zoo and provides educators, students and community groups with stewardship resources and educational opportunities to protect, restore and conserve wetland habitats and biodiversity.  Adopt-A-Pond has five major off-site initiatives.  Georgian Bay residents and visitors are encouraged to participate in three initiatives to help protect wetlands and monitor wildlife: Ontario Turtle Tally; Frogwatch Ontario; and the Wetland Guardians Registry.


Painted turtle, photo credit: Andy Metelka

The purpose of Ontario Turtle Tally is to collect, record and store location and species information on turtles, including species at risk.  Frogwatch Ontario is a fun, easy amphibian monitoring project for people of all ages.  It’s a great activity for schools, families, landowners, cottagers, and community and naturalist groups across the province.

By joining the Wetland Guardians Registry, participants can “adopt” a local wetland by entering it into a Canada-wide registry database.  The registry is a cumulative account of wetland protection resources for landowners, school and community groups.  Participants register a wetland by filling in fields such as wetland description, wetland protection or restoration efforts, methods, results, and funding sources.

Please visit these websites for more information:

Join the Volunteer Aquatic Plants Survey (VAPS) Program


Bullfrog, photo credit: Meg Wallace Photography

Due to the critical role that coastal wetlands play, it is important to monitor these wetlands and watch for major changes that could negatively impact the biotic community.  The goal of the VAPS program is to have people in the community take a personal interest in the health of their local wetlands and to make regular reports on the species of aquatic plants they find in these coastal marshes.

The survey is only required once per year, when most aquatic plants have flowered (late July to early September), and it seldom takes more than 3 to 4 hours (usually less than 2 hours) to complete.  A thorough survey of a site requires the selection of up to ten quadrants (sampling points) that will be surveyed by canoe or wading.  At each location, the participant will survey plants within one meter on either side of the canoe or where they’re standing.  Participants are encouraged to choose sections that contain a variety of wetland plants: some in deeper open water, some along the shore, and others within the lily pads.  Here’s what you’ll need to conduct a survey:

  • Canoe, kayak or rowboat.
  • Chest waders or rubber boots.
  • VAPS monitoring protocol (available from Dr Pat Chow-Fraser, [email protected]).
  • Survey data sheet (available from: ).
  • A pencil (pen may not write well on wet paper).
  • If the water is too deep or murky to identify some plants, you may need a garden rake or pike pole to bring the plants to the surface.

Once the VAPS is completed, participants can either enter it online or send the data via snail mail:

Dr Pat Chow-Fraser, McMaster University, 1280 Main St West, LSB 224, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1

Meg Wallace Photography

Coastal wetland, photo credit: Meg Wallace Photography