• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Public review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan announced

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In Agencies
Jul 17th, 2020
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Andrea Khanjin

News release from Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition

Environmental coalitions around Lake Simcoe have been waiting for the Province of Ontario to start the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan review for many months, and today Barrie-Innisfil MPP Andrea Khanjin announced that the Ministry will initiate the statutory review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan in the fall of 2020 to determine if the Plan needs to be changed.

The Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks released the Minister’s Ten Year Report on Lake Simcoe: https://www.ontario.ca/page/ministers-10-year-report-lake-simcoe and a backgrounder explaining some funding announcements: https://news.ontario.ca/ene/en/2020/07/ontario-taking-steps-to-improve-the-health-of-lake-simcoe.html

Lake Simcoe Watch, Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition and the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition and their member groups have been campaigning together to engage the public in this significant policy review.

“The province’s timeline on the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan policy review allows interested members of the public to analyze the province’s reports, and to collaborate in order to provide the best advice possible about the LSPP review. We appreciate that. It also gives the province time to hear the expert advice of two provincial Lake Simcoe multi-stakeholder committees which have not met since 2018,” says Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition Executive Director Claire Malcolmson.

Lake Simcoe’s health is still struggling and it can not afford any weakening of its protection policies, the groups maintain. In addition to the protections in place in the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, this policy review now planned for the fall affords the province a chance to further strengthen the Plan by:
– Bringing down phosphorus loads to the lake to achieve or beat the targets of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan through a renewed Phosphorus Reduction Strategy;
– Increasing protections for natural heritage features like forests, wetlands and shorelines to help support biodiversity, and to address phosphorus loading, warming water temperatures, and climate change.

“We are pleased that the province is spending money on research and monitoring in areas that we agree are important to the lake’s health, says the Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition’s Executive Director Margaret Prophet. “Sound science, evidence and climate change projections need to form the basis of improvements to the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. It is a science-based plan; it needs to stay that way.”

Members of the public or media want to know more about the issue, the groups’ positions, and research, see:
Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition research and factsheets &
What is the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan explainer video: www.rescuelakesimcoe.org
Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, 2009 https://rescuelaketempdomain.blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/merged-pdf.io_.pdf
Cleaning Up Lake Simcoe, a Discussion Paper by Lake Simcoe Watch: https://lakesimcoewatch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Simcoe-Book-final.pdf

About: The Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition is a lake-wide member-based organization that provides leadership and inspires people to take action to protect Lake Simcoe. www.rescuelakesimcoe.org

News release from Ontario

Media coverage:

Province provides almost $600K to shore up health of Lake Simcoe

Projects include a closer look at nutrients in the lake, as well as mapping, inspection, monitoring, and research

By: Shawn Gibson Barrie Today July 17 202o

The provincial government is investing $581,000 into four new projects to help maintain and improve Lake Simcoe’s health.

With the shimmering lake in the background on a sunny Friday morning, local MPPs outlined the funding during a press conference near the Southshore Centre.

On hand for the announcement were Barrie-Innisfil MPP Andrea Khanjin, who is also parliamentary assistant to the minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop, and representatives from the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA).

Khanjin spoke about the need to maintain and improve the lake’s health.

“Growing up by Lake Simcoe, I saw the importance of connecting with nature and the importance of keeping the lake clean at a very young age,” she said. “I learned that environmentalism starts at home, and when I was elected I wanted to do something to build on the success to date to keep Lake Simcoe clean.”

A report released today by the Ontario government shows the health of Lake Simcoe is improving.

The 10-year report on Lake Simcoe shows the restoration of more than 15 kilometres of degraded shorelines, the planting of more than 55,000 trees and shrubs, and the creation and restoration of 120 hectares of wetland has resulted in “encouraging” signs of recovery.

Some of the positive signs include a 50 per cent reduction in phosphorus loads from sewage treatment plants entering the watershed, decreased amounts of algae, and the successful reproduction of cold-water fish, such as lake trout, lake whitefish and cisco.

While the health of Lake Simcoe is important to the wildlife in and around the water body, the region also benefits greatly from its beauty in other ways.

“Recreation from the lake generates over $20 million a year in the local economy and 80 per cent of that is connected to our ice fishing,” Khanjin said. “The lake, while beautiful, is also the jewel of the region for tourism.”

LSRCA chief administrative officer Mike Walters and his organization are excited about the funding. He said it will go a long way to help Lake Simcoe.

“We’re very pleased that the province of Ontario and the ministries involved remain committed to these critical initiatives to reduce phosphorus, road salt and other contaminants in Lake Simcoe,” said Walters. “The funding that has been announced today truly will support some important initiatives.”

The projects receiving funding include:

* St. Lawrence River Institute nutrient model for Lake Simcoe: This project will receive $77,894 over two years to create a web-based tool that uses satellite imagery to predict areas with higher amounts of phosphorus in the watershed. This model will inform and target best-management practices to help reduce phosphorus into the lake.

* LSRCA mapping: This project will receive $93,879 over two years to use aerial photos to identify and track the changes to land use in the watershed over time, with a specific focus on changes in the watershed’s impervious areas, such as paved roads and parking lots. This information will enhance stormwater management planning and help reduce phosphorus and other contaminants from entering the lake.

* LSRCA inspection and maintenance: The province is providing $39,227 over two years that will allow for training on the inspection and maintenance of stormwater facilities in the watershed. Stormwater facilities that are regularly inspected and properly maintained will prevent more phosphorus and other pollutants from entering the lake.

* LSRCA water quality/phosphorus monitoring and research: Ontario is providing $370,000 over three years to continue the ongoing monitoring of water quality in Lake Simcoe by measuring the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Simcoe. The research will investigate the relationship between phosphorus loads and dissolved oxygen. Deep-water dissolved oxygen is a key indicator of the lake’s water quality.

One Response to “Public review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan announced”

  1. Ken Imrie says:

    My thanks to all the people that work to save this beautiful lake which has provided so much joy to so many over so many years! It is critical we maintain the health of this lake for future generations to come! Stay well and take care!

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