Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Graham Smith

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The intent of this thesis was to assess the direct and indirect participation of the federal government in processes which have resulted in the loss of wetlands in Southern Ontario. This study focuses on the present and past Federal programs that had or do have the potential to impact wetlands, their history, funding, and administration, and the federal legislation present for wetland preservation. The research methodology was divided into three phases. The first phase consisted of literature reviews pertaining to the management and conversion of wetland areas and reports concerned with federally funded projects and the generation of extensive interviews with key personnel from Federal Departments. The literature reviews and interviews led to the selection and examination of the specific federal programs that had or do have the potential to impact wetlands. In this first phase, the departments of Public Works, Transport Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Agriculture Canada were reviewed. The second phase of research involved the examination of federally funded agriculture drainage programs and the federal legislation that can protect wetland areas. According to Bardecki (1981a), agricultural drainage has been the greatest contributor to the loss of wetlands in Southern Ontario. The Agricultural and Rural Development Agreement (ARDA), the Southwestern Ontario Dyking Agreement and the Eastern Ontario Subsidiary Agreement were the three programs reviewed. Phase three of the research involved the examination of the use of a case study. Dundas County was selected for the case study area. One of the major contributions of this thesis is the generation and development of a data base that allowed the comparison of the ARDA drains to the loss and potential loss of wetland areas. The base data was collected from extensive interviews and through the compilation and production of outlet drainage maps overlain upon wetland maps, all for Dundas County. Due to data limitation, the thesis does not present the case study as definite data for evaluation. Rather, the case study is only used as an illustration of the general situation of the impact of the ARDA drainage program in Southern Ontario. The results of the case study do show that there is a definite potential for the impact on wetlands from the federally funded ARDA drains, but definite conclusions cannot be made. The results of the analysis of the data base show how far an analysis of this type can go without using on-site physical data collection. In order to avoid the conversion of wetlands from federally funded programs in the future it is recommended that: a screening of federal funded programs be employed before funding is granted; all federal legislation that can be used to protect wetland area must be adhered to; all federally funded projects must be assessed by the Federal Environmental Assessment and Review Process (drainage works must be exempted); and future research could focus on building data bases for the federally funded ARDA programs in Southern Ontario. Further research into the impacts of Federal programs and policies on the wetlands of Southern Ontario is essential to the control of Federal involvement in wetland conversion.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season