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2014 Fall and Winter Habitat Conditions in Canada 

Conditions potentially favorable throughout Canada 
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Ontario

This fall and winter were colder than normal, with an earlier freeze-up and much more snow than in the recent past.  Field reports from Windsor to Temiskaming liken this winter to those of 20-30 years ago.

A normal to above-normal snowpack has accumulated from November onwards.  By mid-winter, it varied from less than 10 inches (20 cm) along the north shore of the Great Lakes to greater than 24 inches (60 cm) in south-central Ontario, and it approached 40 inches (100 cm) in the Eastern Boreal.  Most (if not all) wetlands were full prior to freeze-up due to abundant late-fall rains.  The frost seal appears to vary significantly, but it is not as crucial a factor in determining spring wetland conditions in Ontario as it is in other regions.

Great Lakes water levels have returned to at- or near-long-term levels.  The one exception is Michigan-Huron, which is 14 inches (35 cm) higher than one year ago but still 14 inches (35 cm) below the long-term average.

Reports on waterfowl numbers indicated abundant Canada geese across the province last fall.  Duck numbers where generally normal or higher than normal, although reports from central and eastern Ontario indicated lower numbers than normal combined with a shortened season due to early freeze-up.  This spring, waterfowl should be welcomed back to good conditions thanks to ample water in Ontario's wetlands.

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