History of Conservation Authorities in Ontario

In the 1920s and 1930s, drought and deforestation across Ontario led to extensive soil loss and flooding. Ontarians began contemplating a new kind of conservation initiative. Over the next several years, many of the province’s leading conservationists called for an integrated approach to natural resource management that was based not on political boundaries, but on natural watersheds.

A watershed is defined as an entire area, both land and water, drained by a watercourse and its tributaries such as streams, rivers and lakes. All of the water in a watershed is interconnected.

A number of municipal councils became involved in the development of a new watershed based organization. This spirit of cooperation led to the passage of Ontario’s Conservation Authorities Act in 1946.