Review of the Lake Simcoe Phosphorous Reduction Strategy

The Ministry of the Environment’s previously released Lake Simcoe Phosphorus Reduction Strategy acknowledges that environmental impacts of population growth currently planned in the Lake Simcoe watershed will make the achievement of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan’s goals difficult, if not impossible. We set out this information again for club members to emphasize the importance of limiting phosphorous to the lake in future years.

The Strategy seems to work towards achieving the whole lake goal of 44 tons per year phosphorus loading down from today’s 72 tons per year. Importantly, I can see no real detailed plan in this strategy. No firm target dates of a myriad of implementation milestones to a tremendous amount of work that is needed to ensure the action of saving Lake Simcoe; really the intent of the Lake Simcoe Act.

The Provincial Growth Plan’s current population targets for the Lake Simcoe watershed are essentially why we (SLSN) are concerned the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan may fail. Given that this Strategy seems to continue to have no strong implementation actions of the aggressive form that must be done to really save Lake Simcoe, and there is no rigorous project management implementation plans.

A much more aggressive detailed implementation plan in naturalizing and Re-Wilding the entire Lake Simcoe to buffer the rivers and the Lake of phosphorus is required.

Our organization has been involved in projects of this kind in South Lake Simcoe for a number of years. As on-the-ground residents in rural and semi-urban locations, we know non-point source contributions are a major area of improvement needed for the future reduction of phosphorus in the lake. We see no evidence of urgency in implementation in this Strategy by the Province of Ontario to achieve the recommended 40% average natural cover target for the watershed, and we continue to push for full watershed naturalization to address particularly non-point source phosphorous.

We applaud the Lake Simcoe Protection Act for protecting an urbanized watershed attempted in Ontario and we applaud the province for this but need to have a much more aggressive Strategy and detailed Plan of implementation to meet the stated objectives of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.