Reducing Lake Simcoe’s phosphorus loadings to 44 tonnes per year
According to the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, to improve the water quality of Lake Simcoe (e.g., reduction of weeds and algae blooms) and to protect our cold water fishery (e.g., lake trout and whitefish) Lake Simcoe’s annual phosphorus loadings must be reduced by 50% to 44 tonnes per year.
Streams that are affected by runoff (e.g., fertilizers, manure) from urban, rural and agricultural areas are responsible for more than half of Lake Simcoe’s phosphorus loadings. Dust from construction sites, pits and quarries and agricultural lands is another major source of phosphorus.
Woodlands and wetlands help to regulate water quality by filtering out contaminants and absorbing excess nutrients before they reach the Lake. The loss of wetland, woodlands and natural shorelines has led to increased phosphorus loadings into Lake Simcoe.
The Mayors of Aurora, Barrie, Bradford-West Gwillimbury, Brock, Georgina and Oro-Medonte have called for the development and implementation of a plan to reduce Lake Simcoe’s phosphorus loadings to 44 tonnes per year by 2026.
Lake Simcoe’s Forests, Wetlands and Meadows
According to the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan, at least 40% of Lake Simcoe’s watershed area should consist of high quality forests, wetlands and meadows.
At present, approximately 35% of Lake Simcoe’s watershed consists of natural cover. Unfortunately, much of this land is too fragmented and therefore does not provide high quality habitat and migration corridors for animals, birds and plants. As a consequence, only about 22% of the watershed has high quality natural cover.
The Mayors of Aurora, Bradford-West Gwillimbury, Brock, Georgina, Kawartha Lakes, Newmarket and Oro-Medonte have called for the development and implementation of a plan to ensure that by 2026, at least 40% of Lake Simcoe’s watershed consists of high quality connected forests, wetlands and meadows.
Working Together to Save Lake Simcoe By 2026
Unfortunately, despite the fact that the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan was released 10 years ago, our political leaders still do not have a plan to achieve its phosphorus pollution reduction and natural cover restoration targets. This is simply not acceptable. We need real action now to save the Lake we love. We need a plan that will achieve these critical targets by 2026 at the latest – the health of our lake cannot wait any longer.