Aquatic Ecosystems

A strategic objective of Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is to protect and restore aquatic ecosystems and the biodiversity they support.

TRCA team members on boat conduct aquatic ecosystem monitoring

About Aquatic Ecosystems in
Toronto and Region

TRCA’s watersheds are mostly in urban or urbanizing areas. In these urban landscapes, the aquatic surface water and groundwater systems are integrated with urban infrastructure, such as stormwater management ponds and outflows.

Humber River
aerial view of Lake Wilcox
aerial view of Ashbridges Bay

Urbanization and changes in climate have direct and indirect impacts on the overall health of aquatic systems, influencing instream temperature, sedimentation, nutrient input, and more.

These changes can adversely impact the ability of aquatic systems to provide ecological functions and services such as clean water and wildlife habitat.

Aquatic Ecosystems: Applied Research

TRCA and its partner municipalities are committed to protecting, enhancing, and restoring aquatic ecosystems across TRCA’s jurisdiction through plans, policies, and practice.

These initiatives are informed by up-to-date information from science gathered through TRCA’s applied research initiatives.

Specifically, the objectives of the aquatic ecosystem applied research program are to:

  • Improve understanding of the current and future state of aquatic ecosystems across TRCA’s jurisdiction
  • Identify critical impacts of land use and climate change on aquatic ecosystems
  • Identify opportunities for improving ecosystem function and services
  • Provide science-based guidance for policy and practice

TRCA’s applied research for aquatic ecosystems has four focus areas:

Aquatic Ecosystems:
Monitoring and Inventories

Water is a precious and limited resource that should be valued and protected.

Water provides habitats for many plants and animals including fish, amphibians, aquatic insects, and aquatic plants. The biodiversity of our streams and lakes depends on abundant, clean water.

TRCA monitors the aquatic health of our regional watersheds and waterfront area through the collection of scientific data.




TRCA Watershed Planning and Ecosystem Science: