Recommendations for Protecting Lake Simcoe

Lake Simcoe Protection Plan Recommendations

  • Amend the LSPP to require the establishment of natural cover targets in each subwatershed by 2020;
  • Amend the LSPP to state that Low Impact Development should be a mandatory requirement for all new or re-development in the watershed;
  • Amend the LSPP to state that phosphorus offsetting should be required of all new development or re-development in the watershed;
  • Amend the LSPP to include staging policies to require that development needs to be phased based on demonstrated results from the monitoring program required under the LSPP;
  • LSPP guidance should be augmented by requiring LSPP decision-makers to have regard to the ecological diversity and function that undeveloped land will provide in the future.

Lake Simcoe Protection Plan Implementation Recommendations

  • Due to the significance of patch size, it is of utmost importance to protect and maintain the 25 hectare plus patches mapped as High Quality Natural Cover using a three pronged approach:
    1. Identify and ground truth the quality of the natural features;
    2. Put them in Official Plans (maps, definitions, and supportive lower-tier zoning);
    3. Support non-policy initiatives and land trusts that protect features within the 25 hectare patches that do not meet the criteria for protection.
  • The Province should review Official Plans to confirm whether the natural features mapped by the Province are in fact protected by Official Plans;
  • All levels of government should cooperate on mapping and evaluation of any unevaluated natural cover, including wetlands;
  • The Ministry of Natural Resources and the LSRCA along with municipalities need to map all known forest patches, then categorize by the 4 hectare (south) and 10 hectare (north) thresholds of the province’s “Technical Definitions and Criteria for Identifying Key Natural Heritage Features and Key Hydrologic Features for the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan”. Any woodlands below these thresholds should then be recommended for evaluation to see if they meet the density/crown cover metrics of the technical guide;
  • The Province should work with municipalities and the LSRCA to develop a multi-year implementation and restoration strategy to achieve the 40% high quality natural cover target and set subwatershed targets;
  • The Province should continue to fund scientific research that examines the structure and composition of the high quality natural cover parcels, and the presence of rare or endangered species, and their habitats, by the end of 2020;
  • We encourage all of the municipalities in the Lake Simcoe watershed to adopt the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority’s Natural Heritage System and Strategy. If the NHS’s recommended remediation and tree planting work were completed, then up to 60% of the Lake Simcoe watershed would be in some form of natural cover. Municipalities should be encouraged to enact interim control bylaw to protect the mapped High Quality Natural Cover parcels of 25 hectare plus from rezoning or land use changes until the research is complete;
  • The Province must move past lip service to First Nations by providing meaningful opportunities for First Nations’ to identify priority lands for protection through a Traditional Ecological Knowledge assessment of the Lake Simcoe watershed;
  • The Province needs to work with municipalities to ensure they map the Growth Plan Natural Heritage System and incorporate the associated policies into their official plans within the identified time-frame. Once implemented, they will offer the best protection yet for natural heritage features and in particular for the linkage features between the features.



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