Friends of the Rouge Watershed Logo

FRW Vision & Objectives
"The woods are lovely
dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

FRW Vision Statement

The Rouge River watershed and surrounding watersheds will be vital components of a sustainable earth. Located within the Greater Toronto Area in Canada’s most populous region, these watersheds will be healthy and vibrant, providing “sanctuaries for nature and the human spirit”. Linked to surrounding ecosystems, the Rouge River ecosystem will support healthy forests, farms, meadows, fields and streams and habitat for diverse flora and fauna, contributing to the complex web of global biodiversity. The protection and restoration of our ecosystems will also safeguard human health by sustaining the ecological processes that naturally protect the quality of our air, water, land and food. Healthy ecosystems will provide communities with clean air, rivers, lakes and beaches, safe drinking water and food, and exciting opportunities for education, recreation and tourism.

Damselflies' mating flight over
cool clear stream.

Morningside Tributary Valley.

Townline Wetland.

Little Rouge Valley (early fall 1989).

Sunset at Hillside Outdoor Education School.

Map of the Rouge Watershed and Park.
Click to enlarge.

In the Rouge River bio-region and beyond, environmental health will be nurtured through active citizen involvement. Coordinated conservation efforts among governments, schools, businesses and communities will result in widespread awareness and understanding of ecological realities. A strong sense of environmental stewardship will grow through a sensitive and collaborative approach to conservation. We envision responsible communities living within a flourishing natural environment.

FRW Objectives

  • to protect, enhance and restore ecosystem health and beauty and fish and wildlife habitat  within the Rouge River watershed and surrounding watersheds;
  • to protect watersheds, air sheds and biodiversity through scientific research, biomonitoring, planning, environmental assessment, communication and accountability to the public;
  • to encourage productive conservation linkages between many partners, including communities, schools, businesses, governments, and environmental groups;
  • to foster individual and community environmental awareness, education, involvement and ethics through pro-active programs which encourage environmental leadership and voluntarism and which lead by example (FRW should walk the walk);
  • to address regional (e.g. smog) and global (e.g. climate change) environmental challenges by developing and implementing community environmental action plans and conservation agreements, as outlined in Agenda 21 of the UN Conference, Rio de Janiero, Brazil (1992);
  • to raise funds and in-kind resources for investment in the health and productivity of our ecosystems, communities and youth.


Friends of the Rouge Watershed (FRW) will work with youth and community to protect, enhance and restore ecosystem beauty, health and integrity.  FRW will form productive conservation partnerships with schools, community groups, religious organizations, businesses, landowners, municipalities, government agencies, community leaders, foundations and environmental groups.

To promote ecosystem health and integrity, FRW will work to:

  • provide informed and constructive input to strategic watershed planning and conservation initiatives;
  • support ecosystem approaches to planning which anticipate and avoid adverse effects to landscape health, water quality and flows, air quality, habitat quantity and quality, and  diversity of flora and fauna (biodiversity);
  • support and empower youth and community by providing hands-on opportunities to identify, understand and address ecological problems;
  • protect, enhance and expand natural areas and improve habitat linkages to create beautiful, enjoyable, sustainable and interconnected bio-regional green space systems which support healthy ecosystem structure, functioning, processes, biodiversity and self-sustaining/organizing qualities (e.g. resilience);
  • develop community action plans which facilitate environmental assessment, planning, problem-prevention and problem-solving;
  • promote community understanding of ecological realities through displays, workshops, events, presentations, and community nature watch programs;
  • organize nature interpretation walks, events and programs to explore and enjoy the wonders of nature;
  • promote research, bio-monitoring, learning seminars and communication networks to improve  the understanding and application of environmental science within education, planning, resource management and decision-making;
  • reduce peak (flood) stream flows to improve stream health and reduce erosion, siltation, property damage and drowning risks;
  • protect and improve surface and sub-surface water quality and improve stream base flows to support better quality recreation, drinking water, aquatic habitat and fisheries; and,
  • promote other activities which are consistent with the vision and mission of the group.

More Photos