Today we have almost enough forests and wetlands to buffer the watershed from the impacts of climate change and the stress of phosphorus pollution. But we are losing, not gaining, forests and wetlands.
In 2019 the Province of Ontario will formally review the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008, and Plan, 2009. We want to hold the line in the review, and make sure the Plan is strengthened, not weakened.
The lake and the watershed’s wild inhabitants need clean water, forests, wetlands and streams to stay healthy. We benefit too from a clean environment and swimmable water.
Too much of the nutrient Phosphorus reaches the watershed’s streams, and the lake itself. This can cause excessive algae, weeds, and is the trigger for low oxygen levels in the lake’s deep water, which harms fish. There are many sources of Phosphorus and consequently, there are lots of solutions. The efforts made to improve the lake’s health are paying off, but the threats remain.
What does the Lake Need?
A sustained and coordinated effort. We need to bring down phosphorus from all of its sources, protect forests and wetlands, curb the spread of invasive species, and reduce the impacts of development.
Development pressures on the watershed are huge, and where development and urbanization occur, lower water quality tends to result. Urban runoff called stormwater is the largest source of Phosphorus to Lake Simcoe, at 31% of the annual load.
The Lake Simcoe Protection Plan is one of the policies that help steer our actions in the right direction. Its science-based targets drive municipalities, farmers, individuals, developers, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and others toward the Plan’s objective of protecting, improving or restoring the ecological health of the Lake Simcoe watershed.