Issues & Challenges – Humber River

The Humber River Watershed is being protected and restored as a vibrant ecosystem with the help of many forward-thinking individuals, groups and agencies who share a common vision of a healthy Humber. There are challenges, however — and we need your help.

Stormwater Management

Effective stormwater management mimics the natural water cycle by using all opportunities to absorb water and retain whatever can’t be stored. Stormwater management also controls water flows reducing erosion and protects natural habitats. Several municipalities in the Humber have completed stormwater retrofit studies. As of now, 38 percent of urban areas in the Humber have effective stormwater management. It is important to continue implementing stormwater management as development proceeds.

Shrinking Natural Vegetation Cover

Due to rapid urban growth, forested areas within the cities of Toronto, Brampton and the southern portions of both Vaughan and Caledon are now all disconnected from one another. In addition, many hectares of natural vegetation in the Lower Humber watershed will be lost to new developments. These factors negatively impact our forests and wetlands which provide:

  • Clean water and air
  • Climate regulation
  • Benefits to the aquatic system
  • Habitat for plant and animal life
  • A natural water cycle
  • Healthy communities and areas for recreation and enjoyment

Humber River vegetation

Loss of Heritage Resources

Given the significant development in the watershed, there is a growing need to identify and protect the cultural resources of our area. Of the 1,401 historical sites and buildings in the Humber River Watershed, only six percent are currently protected, under the Ontario Heritage Act.


We are thankful to Humber area residents that have volunteered their time to support environmental efforts. It’s a start, but more can be done, both in term of contributing to programs, and in terms of developing more sustainable practices in our homes. Find out how you can get involved.

Barriers to Fish Migration

There are currently more than 1,200 potential in-stream barriers, including elevated culverts, dams, weirs and watercourse crossings. This is a concern because a key factor in healthy, self-sustaining populations of fish is their ability to migrate freely within the river system.

Humber River fish migration Chinook salmon

A CALL TO ACTION! Find out more about the current condition of the Humber River and what you can do to help improve conditions.