Nature is Resilient 

Small brown and white bird sitting on a tree branch.

Five-part Series Highlighting the Top Stories of the Watershed Plan 

We’re kicking off a five-part series highlighting the top five stories of the Watershed Plan.   

The first phase of the Watershed Plan characterizes the health of the Credit River Watershed and how it has changed from the 1950s to today. This article dives into the first story: nature is resilient. Our data shows when given the opportunity, our forests, wetlands, streams and the wildlife that call these habitats home can bounce back. We can make a difference to the health of our local environment through on-the-ground action. 

Over One Thousand Native Species Live in the Watershed  

The Credit River Watershed is home to several native plant and animal species. These species provide many ecosystem services and ecological functions. For example, plants absorb carbon and they also clean water by removing contaminants. 

Over 1,200 native species live in the watershed. This includes: 

  • 27 Amphibians and reptiles 
  • 274 Birds 
  • 62 Fishes 
  • 46 Mammals 
  • 147 Trees and shrubs 
  • 651 Other plants 

Most Forest Communities are in Good to Fair Health   

Invasive insects negatively impact the health of our forests. Over the last 10 years we’ve seen an increase in invasive insects that feed heavily on tree leaves, such as spongy moth and fall cankerworm. But we are pleased to see trees are not showing sustained signs of stress or declines in our forests due to these pests.

Many birds that need large, undisturbed forest patches continue to live and breed in our watershed, including species at risk such as the ovenbird and wood thrush.  

Many Frog Species Live in our Wetlands

A frog sitting on a tree branch.
A frog sitting on a tree branch.

There are many frog species living in our wetlands. The high diversity of frogs tells us that these habitats are healthy. We’ve seen increasing numbers of gray treefrog and green frog throughout the watershed, despite global and regional threats to their populations.

Our urban wetlands provide important habitat for eight of the ten frog species known to occur in the watershed, including the federally threatened western chorus frog. Learn more about frogs in urban wetlands

Wildlife Can Bounce Back

Wildlife can bounce back when conditions improve or habitat becomes more suitable and is better equipped to support wildlife.  

Our data shows:  

  • American crow populations have rebounded from West Nile Virus.  
  • Dead trees caused by the invasive emerald ash borer and beech bark disease has resulted in more woodpecker and other cavity-nesting birds in forests. These birds feed on the invasive insects and use the dead trees for shelter.  
  • The aquatic insect community rebounded at an urbanizing site once the water chemistry conditions improved.  
  • Brook trout, a cold-water fish species, returned to sections of streams once we removed barriers and stream temperatures decreased.  

Together, We’re Making a Difference

For 70 years Credit Valley Conservation has worked to improve the health of natural ecosystems through on-the-ground action.  

Our success depends on working in partnership with municipalities, landowners, community organizations, residents, schools and businesses. Together, we can improve watershed a health and build resilience.  

Since 2007 we have: 

  • Planted over 1.1 million trees and shrubs and over 62,000 herbaceous plants. 
  • Restored over 690 hectares of forest, wetland and grassland habitat. 
  • Controlled invasive species across 330 hectares of terrestrial and aquatic habitat.  
  • Restored over six kilometres of stream and shoreline habitat. 
  • Mitigated 14 instream dams and barriers, which connected nearly 40 kilometres of upstream habitat. 
  • Worked with rural landowners to decommission eight septic systems, and upgrade 20 more and decommissioned 43 wells and upgrading 39 more. 
  • Helped to implement Integrated Pest Management practices on 22 hectares of farmland.  
  • Worked with farmers to install livestock fencing that protect 83 hectares of wetland and woodlands. 

Did you know that through our tree planting initiatives, trees planted over 11 years absorbed 10,282 tonnes of carbon. This is equivalent to removing carbon emissions from 8,200 cars over one year!

Get Involved

Together, we can improve watershed health and build resilience. To learn how to get involved in tree planting and other restoration activities, visit

For more information about the Watershed Plan, visit

By Shanice Bador, Coordinator, Watershed Plans and Analytics

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