The Ontario government recently announced that it was investing over $1.3 million in four new multi-year projects to further reduce the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Simcoe, which will help improve the ecological health of the lake and the communities that depend on it. The southern tip of Lake Simcoe is located about 100 km north of Toronto, along the shores of Barrie, Ontario.

The aim of the projects is to build on the progress made to protect and restore Lake Simcoe. Some of the signs of recovery in the Lake Simcoe watershed include a 50 per cent reduction in phosphorus from sewage treatment plants entering the watershed, decreased amounts of algae in the lake and successful reproduction of cold-water fish such as lake trout, lake whitefish and cisco.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to know that our collective efforts are having a positive impact on the health of Lake Simcoe – a lake and region so many of us, including myself, are proud to call home,” said Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “Our government knows that a healthy Lake Simcoe provides the foundation for healthy communities, healthy people and a healthy economy. That’s why we’re continuing to invest in projects and work with local leaders to further protect and restore the lake and its watershed.”

Since 2018, the Ontario government has committed more than $27.3 million to protect and restore Lake Simcoe, including a $24-million investment for a new phosphorus recycling project to help reduce phosphorus discharges from the Holland River into Lake Simcoe. These investments are part of Ontario’s continued commitment to implement the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.

This year, the majority of the projects being funded are led by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and local partners. These include:

  • Water sampling and analysis to monitor phosphorus and other nutrients flowing into Lake Simcoe. This information will be used to help determine which future actions can be taken to improve the lake’s overall health.
  • A study of chemicals and metals in the water and sediment that could harm the lake. This research can help identify new threats to the watershed as well as ways to protect it, now and over the long-term.
  • Creating wetlands and ponds, restoring streams, building channels and planting grasses to better manage stormwater in Innisfil, Newmarket and Oro-Medonte. These projects will help landowners and municipalities lower the amount of pollution going into Lake Simcoe from urban areas.

Toronto Metropolitan University has also received funding to conduct water quality research that will help tackle barriers to improving water quality from the Holland Marsh.

Source: Ontario Government News Release