Lake Simcoe has become the high-water mark other cities will attempt to emulate as environmentalists push climate change to the forefront.
This past fall, the Provincial government passed "The Great Lakes Protection Act,” an act based on the five-year experience of Barrie, Orillia and Innisfil, because it worked so well and became the approach that will be taken with the entire Great Lake watershed. The initial Lake Simcoe Protection Act created in Dec. 2008 lead to the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan which was designed in June 2009 to “protect and restore the ecological health of Lake Simcoe”.
The legislation, the first of its kind in Canada, brought together three levels of government, citizen groups, scientists, as well as the municipalities along the 10,000 metres of shoreline to address the effects of urbanization and climate change on the lake.
The plan brought immediate attention to the alarming rates of phosphorus in the ecosystem, including the lake and its 2,899 square-kilometres of tributaries that drain into it.
At the five year mark, the latest report shows that long-term spring phosphorus concentrations – that cause blue-green algae – have declined and that some native fish, including wild lake whitefish and cisco are returning to levels not seen for decades.
Good news for our environment and for all of the homeowners and cottagers who enjoy Lake Simcoe.
To read Minister's Five Year Report, click here