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Phosphorus Offsetting Policy to Safeguard Lake Simcoe’s Health

By Water Canada 08:55AM October 04, 2017

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Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority has released their Phosphorus Offsetting Policy, which they will adopt as of September 22nd, 2017 to take effect as of January 1st, 2018.

After publishing the Lake Simcoe Phosphorus Load Update, the LSRCA Board of Directors approved a new policy requiring future development in the Lake Simcoe Watershed to achieve a stringent target of zero-phosphorus discharge into our waterways and Lake Simcoe.

“The story that the Phosphorus Load Update tells is that we need to come up with new solutions to address phosphorus in Lake Simcoe—so we’ve done just that,” said LSRCA chair, Aurora Mayor Geoffrey Dawe. “While annual loads haven’t increased, they haven’t come down to a level that satisfies the provincial targets in the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. We’ve developed this policy collaboratively and with significant support from the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, watershed municipalities, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (Simcoe Chapter) and the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, so we’re confident it will prove to be an effective tool to reduce phosphorus.”

LID Tour
Officials from 20 municipalities in the Lake Simcoe watershed tour a Newmarket neighbourhood to hear developer Paul Bailey talk about integrating Low Impact Development technologies with an aim to reduce phosphorus laden stormwater. Credit, LSRCA.

The policy outlines the steps needed to establish an offset in co-operation with the development industry, and its intention is to aid in the implementation of such a program. The policy has many benefits, including reduction of flood frequency and severity, increased community resilience to climate change, enhanced sotrmwater recharge, and the creation of green jobs.

“Effective January 1, 2018, the policy ensures that new development does not contribute any phosphorus to the watershed,” said LSRCA chief administrative officer, Mike Walters. “If zero-phosphorus can’t be achieved then a project to offset the amount of phosphorus being discharged must be undertaken elsewhere in the watershed, and must meet a ratio of 2.5 to 1. That means for every kilogram of phosphorus discharged, 2.5 kilograms has to be offset.”

Click to read the Phosphorus Load Update 2012-2015. Click to read the Phosphorus Offset Policy.

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