The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority

Great Lakes

​​​The Great L​akes


​The Great Lakes provide the largest system of fresh surface water on the globe. Every day, we rely on this important resource for clean water, food, energy and economic benefits, and fun!

The shoreline of Georgian Bay, from The Blue Mountains, through Collingwood and along Wasaga Beach, make up part of the Nottawasaga Valley watershed. This is a diverse and busy nearshore area, with world class beaches and recreational areas, active harbours, and homes and businesses sitting alongside freshwater fisheries and aquatic habitats like coastal marshes.

NVCA works with municipalities and other levels of government, landowners, community groups, the agricultural community, and industry to deliver practical and cost-effective programs that improve the health of our watershed and our Great Lakes.

Benefits of Great Lakes

The Great Lakes – and the watersheds that feed into the lakes – offer many benefits to our communities. The lakes and upstream watersheds like the Nottawasaga Valley contribute to:

Human Health

  • providing safe drinking water
  • providing food (fisheries)
  • providing natural areas for people to keep active and recharge our batteries

Ecological Health

  • supporting sustainable streams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater sources
  • enabling healthy soil for crops and livestock 
  • providing habitat for wildlife, fish, and other species 

Economic Health 

  • producing energy 
  • supplying water for agriculture, industry and households 
  • helping to prevent or reduce costly climate change and flooding impacts through forest and wetlands management 
  • contributing to the tourism, fisheries, forestry, agriculture and mining industries

Upstream – Downstream

What we do upstream in Ontario’s watersheds has a major effect on the health and sustainability of the Great Lakes downstream.

Upstream activities that affect water quality and quantity influence river flows and water quality downstream all the way into the Great Lakes.

NVCA works to improve water quality upstream in the watershed, through:

Water quality improvements upstream benefit the health and wellbeing of our streams and waterways in the Nottawasaga Valley watershed downstream – and ensure that good quality water is flowing into our Great Lakes.

Little Actions – Big Results

While it may seem as if individual actions can’t have much of an impact on conditions in the Great Lakes, in reality a lot of small actions by people in their own yards can add up – especially when partnered with actions by government and industry.

NVCA offers a number of programs that can help residents, landowners and others learn about and take action to keep our Great Lakes “great”:

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