St. Lawrence Added to Endangered Rivers List. Here’s Why

For over 50 years, the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario have been subjected to a water level and flow-management plan that has caused extreme wetland habitat loss and species declines because it did not consider the importance of natural, variable flows.

St. Lawrence River| Coley Baker

Guest post by Rebecca Dolson is a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers® series spotlighting the St. Lawrence River.

In April, the St. Lawrence River was named one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.

For over 50 years, the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario have been subjected to a water level and flow-management plan that has caused extreme wetland habitat loss and species declines because it did not consider the importance of natural, variable flows.

WWF-Canada’s Watershed Report for the St. Lawrence River shows that the river is facing very high threats from flow alteration, habitat fragmentation, pollution and a high threat from habitat loss. Lake Ontario also faces very high threat levels from habitat fragmentation and a moderate threat from alteration of flows.

The good news is that a new water level and flow management plan already exists. It is called Plan 2014, developed by the International Joint Commission and referred to both the Canadian and United States governments for approval on June 19th, 2014. It is a solution that is good for the environment, the economy and the communities along the St. Lawrence. Plan 2014 would restore more than 26,000 hectares of wetlands along the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario shorelines, boost hydropower production, and increase the resilience of hundreds of kilometers of shorelines on the Canadian and U.S. sides of the waterway.

More than 22,500 citizens, 42 conservation organizations and 35 business and community leaders have expressed support for Canada and the United States to adopt Plan 2014, but it remains unapproved.

WWF-Canada supports the immediate adoption of Plan 2014 by both governments to benefit the habitats, species and communities that rely on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.


Rebecca Dolson is World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Canada’s specialist on freshwater policy. WWF is Canada’s largest international conservation organization with the active support of more than 150,000 Canadians.

4 responses to “St. Lawrence Added to Endangered Rivers List. Here’s Why

  1. Water does not have an economic, political or national connection. It is vitally important that this be the prime reason for preserving all water sources. Nancy Cramer

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