Today Ontario released a report that shows that the health of Lake Simcoe is improving. The five-year report is the results of the Ontario government’s decision to enshrine Lake Simcoe’s health in Canada’s first lake-specific legislation: the 2008 Lake Simcoe Protection Act. The act enabled the creation of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan (the Plan) in 2009 that takes into account the lake’s 722 square-kilometres of water surface and the 2,899 square-kilometre watershed that drains into Lake Simcoe.
“The release of the five-year report is a milestone of significance and the members of the Coordinating Committee, representing a variety of stakeholders, applaud the Minister and the province on this leading edge initiative.”
The report shows, among other things, that levels of dissolved oxygen has significantly improved since the 1980s, over 1,500 restoration projects have been completed, and 440 on-farms projects to reduce phosphorus have been completed.
“Lake Simcoe is Barrie’s most important asset. It’s great to see the progress that has been made in protecting the lake,” said Jeff Lehman, Mayor, City of Barrie, member of the Lake Simcoe Coordinating Committee. “With the province and the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, the City of Barrie has made it a commitment to preserve the quality of our lake for future generations to enjoy,” said Lehman.
Ontario will continue to work with its partners to implement the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan by such actions as:
- protecting and restoring shorelines and wetlands to address poor water quality caused by excessive phosphorus
- restoring the health of cold-water fish and other aquatic life;
- setting strict phosphorus limits on waste-water treatment plants;
- controlling and preventing invasive species;
- undertaking monitoring and analysis to understand the effects of climate change.
“Lake Simcoe is a vital natural resource—a jewel that all Ontarians take pride in. Our five-year report shows our collaborative efforts to protect and restore the health of the lake are working, but we know there’s more work to do. I look forward to working with our many partners to address emerging issues such as encouraging low-impact development in the watershed, and climate change,” said Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.