Shoreline Facts

Rocks at Rattray Marsh CA
  • The area west of Port Credit to the mouth of the Niagara River has been identified as a globally important bird habitat. This area witnesses significant gatherings of waterfowl, mostly in the late winter and early spring.
  • 43% of the shoreline land in CVC’s jurisdiction is publicly owned.
  • 15 watersheds (areas of land draining into major waterways) drain directly into Lake Ontario. The health of each of these affects the health of our lake and our own waterfront.
  • Our Lake Ontario was once home to a thriving population of Atlantic Salmon. Work is underway to restore their habitat and bring this population back.
  • More than 50 species of fish live in Lake Ontario near our community. About 33 of these species are native to the area. Others have been introduced intentionally or accidentally over the years.
  • Our waterfront is part of the Carolinian Life Zone, and is home to unique species found only in Southwest Ontario and south into the Carolinas. In Ontario, the Carolinian Life Zone stretches south between the southern end of Lake Huron and the north shore of Lake Ontario, in the Toronto area. This small area represents less than 0.25% of our country’s total land area.
  • The shoreline area is home to 8 environmentally significant features, 7 areas of natural and scientific interest (ANSIs), and 1 earth science ANSI. These designations all imply that these are areas of exceptional natural and/or geologic significance.
  • Even though it is a highly urbanized environment, up to 68% of the known species in CVC’s jurisdiction can be found within 2 km of the shoreline. That’s how important our shoreline is to wildlife!
  • Lake Ontario is the 14th largest lake in the world.
  • Lake Ontario is a deep, coldwater ecosystem that supports Lake Trout and Whitefish.
  • Lake Ontario’s food chain depends on small freshwater shrimp.
  • Lake Ontario and its tributaries are home to American eel, but all American eels spawn in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Lake Ontario is one of two Great Lakes with water levels regulated through dams in outlet rivers. The other lake is Lake Superior.
  • Lake Ontario is the source of drinking water for over six million people.
  • Lake Ontario’s western portion is highly developed and the fastest-growing region in the Great Lakes Basin. Most of the basin is characterized by rural landscapes.
  • Lake Ontario, in the open lake is significantly cleaner than it was 20 years ago.

Shoreline Connections

The Credit River Watershed, together with several smaller neighbouring watersheds that drain directly into Lake Ontario, makes up 15 km of Lake Ontario Shoreline in the City of Mississauga. The Credit River Watershed and Lake Ontario are both part of the Great Lakes Basin that connects Lake Superior to the St. Lawrence River and Atlantic Ocean, one of the largest freshwater ecosystems in the world.

Natural features within two kilometers of the Lake Ontario Shoreline provide critical habitat during bird and butterfly migration, as species need natural habitats where they can rest before and after their long flights across the lake. This corridor provides an east-to-west connection along the shoreline. In the Credit River Watershed, the natural areas closest to the lake include species and vegetation communities that are not found anywhere else in the watershed.

The near shore zone, the area from the high water mark on shore to where the water depth is 20m, is the link between land and lake and is how most people view the lake. The shallow productive waters support submerged plant communities that are critical for waterfowl and many fish species. Near shore embayments have the greatest fish production and diversity in Lake Ontario. The active beach areas provide habitat for shore birds. Many recreational activities are concentrated in the near shore zone.

The health of Lake Ontario is directly affected by the health of the land in its watershed.