Leamington Coastal Processes

The Conservation Authority wanted to have a series of Sustainable Management Strategies for 5,000 hectares of coastal and interior flood prone lands. The long-term land use strategies were to be developed within the context of environmental, social and economic goals.

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Essex Region Conservation Authority, Environment Canada, and Parks Canada
Southeast Leamington
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Southeast Leamington

Project Highlights

The comprehensive study was done on the biologically rich Carolinian Life Zone, which was experiencing a slow decline in native biodiversity due to habitat fragmentation, pollution, invasive species and human impacts. The multi-disciplinary study required several investigations.


  • Littoral cell studies rates for 100 km of shoreline
  • Harbour investigations
  • Assessment of native biodiversity and threatened species
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Extensive stakeholder consultation

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Project Challenges

  • Mitigate severe flooding and erosion hazards and enhance the ecological integrity of the coastline.
  • Quantify ecosystem benefits in economic terms for the status quo land use and alternatives.
  • Design wetland restoration for 900 hectares of former marsh.
  • Maximize funding potential from government to offset costs for local stakeholders.
  • Convey technical findings to area stakeholders and politicians.

Baird Solutions

  • Natural shoreline processes and habit were restored after existing hazards were quantified and removed.
  • Local ecosystem service values were developed for habitat, waste treatment, gas regulation, and flood protection.
  • An integrated design process was used to focus on hydrology, target habitat zones and species.
  • Multi-use concepts integrate outdoor recreation, enhance the marsh and local fisheries, and create habitat.
  • Utilized a variety of community engagement strategies (town hall and individual meetings, presentations, workshops, and surveys).

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