The Ontario government announced that it is investing $581,000 in four new projects to help find better ways to reduce the amount of pollutants, such as phosphorus, from entering Lake Simcoe.
“Ten years ago, local environmental and conservation organizations, advocates, and all levels of government came together as a community to restore the Lake Simcoe watershed, resulting in the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan,” said Jeff Yurek, minister of the environment, conservation, and parks. “Today, we are celebrating the progress we have made together to protect and preserve this vital region, and I look forward to continuing this work.”
A report released on July 17, 2020 by the Ontario government shows the health of Lake Simcoe is improving as a result of actions taken to protect and restore the lake and its watershed. 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 wetlands have resulted in encouraging signs of recovery. The signs of recovery include:
- A 50 per cent reduction in phosphorus loads from sewage treatment plants entering the watershed.
- Lower amounts of algae over time.
- The successful reproduction of cold-water fish such as lake trout, lake whitefish and cisco.
“The results of the 10-year report are very encouraging, but there is more work to be done,” said Andrea Khanjin, parliamentary assistant to the minister of the environment, conservation, and parks. Khanjin is also the MPP for Barrie-Innisfil. “We all have a role to play to restore and protect the lake and I am proud Ontario will continue working to keep Lake Simcoe clean.”
Since 2009, the province’s actions to protect and restore Lake Simcoe have been guided by the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. The plan focuses on the lake’s water quality, reducing phosphorus levels, caring for natural heritage, and addressing the impacts of invasive species and other emerging threats.
“We’re so pleased that our provincial government is continuing [its] commitment, both financially and through critical policies, to support the work of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA),” said Wayne Emmerson, the chair of the LSRCA. Emmerson is also the chairman and chief executive officer of the Regional Municipality of York.
“For the last 70 years, through the collaborative support of our governments and our communities, LSRCA has remained focused on protecting and restoring the Lake and watershed so that it remains a vital and thriving region for generations to come,” said Emmerson. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks as we strive to achieve this collective vision.”