Master Plan

Looking for information on NPCA programs, services, and events during COVID-19? Please visit our Get Involved NPCA portal where you will find a list of Frequently Asked Questions, links and resources, important announcements, and tools to ask anything that has not yet been answered. We will do our best to get back to you soon! 


Visit the NPCA GIS Open Data community, where users can discover and download spatial data, use apps to explore and understand local natural resource management issues, and analyse associated information to share with the community. NPCA appreciates the broader community value of the spatial information assets, critical to the function of its watershed-based program and services, and supports the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions.


Master Plans are documents that span several years and guide and inform enhancements to our Conservation Areas.

Stream Flow Monitoring

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority monitors stream flow, rainfall and other meteorological information at locations across the watershed. The information is transmitted from each station to the NPCA’s Head Office in Welland, Ontario, in near-real time where it is monitored and analyzed. The data gives us an up to date picture of the conditions within the watershed and allows us to develop a deeper understanding of the fluxes and behaviour of the systems.

Please note that our Watershed Explorer map below is currently out of service. We are working diligently to get it back up and running. In the meantime, please click here for the latest Stream Flow Monitoring updates. Click HERE to learn more about NPCA's Flood Warnings.

Below are some great documents to reference for information: 

NOAA Great Lakes Operational Forecast Systems:

Water Quality

Since 2001, the NPCA has developed an extensive water quality monitoring program for the Niagara Peninsula Watershed. Both surface water from our local watercourses and groundwater from our significant aquifers are being monitored.

Surface Water Monitoring

The NPCA collects surface water samples eight times a year on a monthly basis during ice-free periods from a network of 80 surface water sampling sites across the Niagara Peninsula Watershed. The NPCA tests the water for numerous parameters, including general chemistry, nutrients, metals and bacteria. This water chemistry program is operated in partnership with the Provincial Water Quality Monitoring Network (PWQMN) and the Niagara Region.

The NPCA also has an in-depth biological monitoring program, the goal of which is to assess aquatic ecosystems using benthic invertebrates as indicators of water quality. Benthic macroinvertebrates are large, bottom dwelling insects such as crustaceans, worms, mollusks and related organisms that live in the water. They are good indicators of water quality as they respond to changes in water quality. The NPCA uses Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network Protocol for its biomonitoring.

Overall, this monitoring of water chemistry and benthic macroinvertebrates allows the NPCA to identify potential sources/causes of poor stream health and target effective strategies to improve stream health ​within our watershed.

Groundwater Monitoring

A network of groundwater monitoring wells has been established across the watershed to monitor the quality and quantity of the groundwater resources in the region. Data from these wells is being used to make informed decisions about water testing and treatment of private wells, water allocation (under the MECP’s Permit To-Take-Water program), drinking water source protection planning and potential climate change impacts. Results from water quality sampling areas are used to inform municipalities of any exceedances of the Ontario Drinking Water Standards that might occur in aquifers within their jurisdiction.

The 15 wells established by the NPCA are part of the Provincial Groundwater Monitoring Network (PGMN), and monitor a number different aquifers. The establishment of
this province-wide network is a partnership between Conservation Authorities and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Results Monitoring

Water Quality Reports detailing this initiative are produced annually and available here: Summary Report of the Year 2019. The Water Quality Monitoring Program completed the NPCA Groundwater Study in 2005.

Water Quality data that is collected by the NPCA is now available through the Ontario Ministry of the Environment’s map portal.

This section also administers the Water Well Decommissioning Grant Program, which provides financial assistance to landowners to properly close inactive water wells and ensure they do not become a future threat to ground water quality. For information about the program, and to apply, visit the Water Well Decommissioning Grant Program page.

Watershed Report Cards

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) is pleased to present the 2018 Watershed Report Card—a check up on the health of the Niagara Peninsula watershed, focusing on surface and groundwater quality, forest conditions, and wetland cover.

Since 2005, the NPCA and its partners have produced report cards to inform its residents on the overall health of the Niagara Peninsula watershed. The 2018 Watershed Report Card is part of an initiative by conservation authorities to evaluate key indicators of watershed health with guidelines and grading system provided by Conservation Ontario.

The 2018 report card, despite some low grades, gives a clear snapshot of the status of the watershed in 2018, a baseline against which we can use to measure all future efforts. These grades are typical of watersheds in Southern Ontario. The good news is that the Niagara Peninsula watershed scored well with respect to groundwater quality, and the amount of wetland cover within its area, but there is still some work to do regarding the quality of surface water and forest cover.

The NPCA works in many local, provincial and federal partnerships with governments, other agencies, landowners, and residents to plan and deliver watershed management programs that strive to keep the Niagara Peninsula watershed healthy.

Back in October 2017, it announced eight exciting initiatives which set aggressive targets for improving water resource management and the overall health of the watershed. Environmental health is everyone’s responsibility, and these goals can’t be achieved without the help of the people of the watershed.

The watershed report cards are used to target specific actions to address issues and improve conditions. These actions can result in better watershed health and provide benefits to water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, improved forest conditions and quality of life for residents. It is anticipated that with the help of the people of the watershed, grades will improve over time.

Individuals, community groups, and businesses alike are encouraged to get involved and play a key role in improving the health of their watershed by planting native trees and/or rainwater gardens, sponsor community clean ups to keep waste and garbage out of natural areas, or invest in ‘greener’ alternatives to current practices.

To find out more about what individuals, community groups, and businesses can do to help, please see complete 2018 Niagara Peninsula Watershed Report Card.

Surface Water Quality Map, Groundwater Quality Map, Forest Cover Map, and Wetland Cover Map.

Please note: The NPCA’s role is to evaluate the quality of local watersheds and provide that information to the public and our partners. By doing this, the NPCA can measure environmental change, improve local knowledge, focus natural resource management actions where they are needed most, and motivate action in our watershed. The NPCA’s water and land resources provide important ecological, economic, and societal benefits to its residents, and the organization continues to ensure its programs contribute to a healthier watershed.

The NPCA fulfills its responsibility to evaluate the quality of the watershed alongside upper and lower tier local municipalities, The Province of Ontario (MOECC, MNRF and OMARFA) and Environment Canada and Climate Change.

Watershed Plans

Integrated watershed management (IWM) is the process of managing human activities and natural resources on a watershed basis​, considering social, economic and environmental issues, as well as local community​ interests and matters such as the impacts of growth and climate change. It’s the local approach to natural resources management that the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority utilizes and advocates throughout its program and services. Heavily predicated on adaptive management principles, it is a fundamental cycle of inventory, assessment, and management activities typically culminating in the development of a plan.

An Integrated Watershed Management Plan (IWMP) is a guiding document for use by landowners, governments, planners, and all other stakeholders in a watershed. It sets out
common goals and objectives for the long-term management of land and water resources in the basin, guiding efforts to maintain and enhance the watershed’s natural heritage resources through land acquisition, protection and restoration strategies.

Between 2003 and 2011, NPCA worked in partnership with the Region of Niagara through the former Niagara Water Strategy to complete 12 plans for the Peninsula’s 18 Watershed Planning Areas, compile an initial Natural Areas Inventory (NAI), and subsequently assess the existing natural heritage system (NHS) remaining through a multi stakeholder engagement process. This project, entitled ‘Nature for Niagara’s Future’ measured that the Niagara Peninsula currently achieves 56% towards what science recommends is required at minimum for the landscape to remain environmentally healthy, sustainable and resilient.

Watershed and sub-watershed planning form the foundations from which to deliver NPCA’s mandated programs and services in an adaptive, integrated watershed management approach to local natural resource management.

Nature for Niagara’s Future Project

Natural Areas Inventory

Special Projects & Programs

Source Water Protection

All of us in Ontario have a role to play in protecting our fresh water. Protecting water at its source is the first step in ensuring we all have access to safe drinking water. By stopping contaminants from getting into sources of drinking water, we can provide the first line of defense in the protection of our environment and our health.

For detailed information about the Source Water Protection Initiative and its implementation in the NPCA watershed, visit

Niagara River (Ontario) Remedial Action Plan (RAP)

Under the 1987 Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the Niagara River was listed as one of forty-three Great Lakes Areas of Concern due to pollution problems leading to ecosystem degradation. Since that time, several local organizations and groups (including the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority) have worked together to implement the Niagara River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) to restore and protect water quality and ecosystem health in the Niagara River.

The NPCA has been an active participant in the RAP initiative since its inception in the late 1980s and has completed many activities in the watershed toward the improvement of the Niagara River ecosystem. In April 1999, the NPCA took an active leadership role and became the host organization for administering and coordinating the RAP initiative. With funding support from the federal and provincial government, the NPCA continues to fulfill the secretariat services for the RAP initiative and participates in several committees.

Over 50% of the Niagara Peninsula watershed drains into the Niagara River. We all have a role to play in the improving the Niagara River! Learn more at

Native Plant Suppliers

Native Plants have evolved naturally, growing in your area, and find its’ soil and climate home. Plants from seed sources closest to your site will survive best, having adapted these local soil and climate conditions.

  • For increased plant survival ask for plants/seed with origin from EcoDistrict 37 (7E-3 and 7E5)
  • Order plants by scientific name to ensure native species, and
  • Ensure plants are not endangered or threatened. These plants require very specific areas only.
  • Check the NPCA Native Plant Guide for Native Niagara Plant Species

For further information on plantings or other conservation, topics contact the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority at (905)788-3135






Native Plant Suppliers

Cooks Mills Farms - Native Trees & Bees


Niagara Falls

Ernie & Linda Grimo



John Vanderkruk





Native Plant Source




Port Robinson

John Verbinnen & Bernard Teeninga



Helpful Resources