MINESING, ONT. -- There's a new source of hope and protection in the future of Canada's third-largest wetland system.

On Wednesday, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), in partnership with the Nottawasaga Conservation Valley Authority, announced the protection of 80 acres of the Minesing Wetlands.

The property protected buffers the core of the wetlands, and with a significant amount of funding from the Government of Canada's Natural Heritage Conservation Program.

"It ensures that the core, that really wet bit that's doing all the hard work, like holding onto flood water, cleaning our drinking water, cleaning our air, stays perfectly protected," said Kristyn Ferguson, NCC.

The Minesing Wetlands is home to thousands of species and roughly 27,000 acres of fields, wetlands and forests located right beside Barrie, and it's at high risk.

According to Ferguson, southern Ontario has lost 70 per cent of its natural wetlands habitat.

"It's been drained, developed, and converted," said Ferguson. "And that makes what remains so incredibly important."

This particular wetland holds international importance and has the same designation as the Everglades in Florida.

Naturalist Bob Bowles said the announcement is vital to this land's livelihood, which needs to be protected.

"We are going to lose a lot of species. So your children, your grandchildren, will not be able to experience some of the natural features that we're seeing today," said Bowles.

Bowles added that it provides habitat to over 2,000 rare species, including those that are endangered, like the eastern meadowlark, the Hine's emerald dragonfly, and the threatened bobolink blackbird.

With this protection, the NCC hopes these wetlands can continue to thrive and provide habitat for its unique species for years to come.