On February 15, 2019, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks released the 2017 Annual Report on Lake Simcoe. The report describes the measures taken in 2017 to implement the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan (the “Plan”).
The Lake Simcoe Protection Plan is promulgated pursuant to the Lake Simcoe Protection Act, 2008. It deals with long term environmental issues in Lake Simcoe and its watershed by addressing threats such as excessive phosphorus, invasive species, and climate change. It also requires the protection and restoration of natural areas such as shorelines and wetlands, and addresses the health of fish and other aquatic life.
The Annual Report highlights some of the initiatives in support of the Plan that are having a positive effect, including:
- Upgrades in municipal sewage treatment technology that have resulted in a significant decline in the phosphorus loads that come from the sewage treatment plants.
- Implementation of Low Impact Development (LID) strategies in stormwater management that have mitigated the impacts of stormwater pollution and decreased stormwater flow to the lake.
- Putting into practice the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority’s Phosphorus Offsetting Policy which requires all development projects to control the phosphorus leaving the site.
- Piloting new sampling technology to support long-term water quality monitoring and research about emerging contaminants, including pesticides, pharmaceuticals and personal care products.
- The development of Soil and Erosion Guidelines that land developers are encouraged to follow during construction activities.
More details on these initiatives and their effects on the health of Lake Simcoe and its watershed can be found in the 2017 Annual Report.