The Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition’s environmental policy mapping project seeks to identify how well protected the Lake Simcoe watershed’s important natural features are by analyzing the strength of the natural heritage policies applied to the features across the watershed landscape. This has been done in order to inform the Province’s 2019 statutory review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.
The province of Ontario will initiate a ten year statutory review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan in 2019. This project has identified the need, and makes recommendations, for increased protections for the Lake Simcoe Watershed in order to provide long-term sustainability of this precious resource.
Building on the Lake Simcoe Environmental Management Strategy (1990), the Lake Simcoe Protection Act was passed in 2008 following a campaign led by the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition, Environmental Defence, and Ontario Nature, with the support of the Ladies of the Lake, and upwards of 35 local groups.
The passage of the Act, which received unanimous, all-party support in the Ontario Legislature, required the preparation of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan (LSPP) which was enacted in June, 2009.
Together with the Act, they represent the best watershed-based legislative/policy framework in Canada. They are used as a model by conservationists and policy-makers seeking stronger environmental policies to reduce phosphorus loading to water bodies and to protect water and watersheds.
However, our research has shown that phosphorus levels in Lake Simcoe have remained the same since the Lake Simcoe Protection Act was passed, despite $50 million of government investment and that phosphorus loadings from new urban and infrastructure development is cancelling out remediation efforts. Simply accepting that phosphorus loadings from new development will continue to occur is not a sustainable approach.
We cannot afford to continually and permanently degrade Lake Simcoe – both as a water resource and as an economic generator.
Protecting natural heritage both limits development and reduces water quality impairments. It is a simple solution with multiple benefits.