It’s nearly impossible to imagine Canada without its iconic rivers, lakes, and beaches. ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE works to protect these precious natural resources for future generations.

In recent years, the Great Lakes, and in particular Lake Erie, have seen a number of intense and frequent algal blooms during the summer months. These blooms can poison drinking water, threaten human health, reduce tourism and property values, and suffocate and kill fish.

To combat this problem, we co-authored the report Clean, Not Green: Tackling Algal Blooms in the Great Lakes which provides a four-point action plan, including the use of market mechanisms to pay farmers to stop nutrient pollution, to help create a healthy future for the Great Lakes. The report received attention in Canada and the U.S., and has set a path for us to work with various groups such as farmers on next steps.

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE also works directly with shoreline communities to protect habitat and keep our waters clean. Through our Blue Flag program, we certify green and clean beaches and marinas across the country. It’s a milestone year for our program as 2014 marked its 10th anniversary!

This year, we also raised flags at three new beaches: Canatara Beach (Sarnia, ON), Waubuno Beach (Parry Sound, ON) and Winnipeg Beach (Winnipeg Beach Provincial Park, MB). This brings the total number of Canadian beaches proudly flying a Blue Flag to 24, in addition to four marinas. To be awarded a Blue Flag, beaches and marinas have to meet strict international standards.

Next Steps:
ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE will continue to work alongside citizens to support stronger protection of the Great Lakes and to call on the Ontario government to pass a strong Great Lakes Protection Act. We will also continue to increase the number of Blue Flag beaches and marinas across the country so more Canadians have safe and clean places to swim.

Back to the 2014 Annual Report