Reports & Studies
The LSRCA undertakes or is involved in studies of both the region's subwatershed and the entire watershed as a whole. Studies may involve assembling data, creating computer simulations of the impacts of land use on water quality, documenting the state of the subwatersheds, and recommending courses of action.
Ontario Agri-Environmental Archive
This is a link to an external site that houses an archive of agri-environmental programs in Ontario.
An archive of our annual reports from 2004 to the present.
Aquatic Macrophyte Survey of Cook's Bay (2006)
An inventory of the aquatic plants of Cook's Bay was conducted in August of 2006, to contrast data collected in 1984 and 1987 and to provide a baseline against future change. Macrophyte growths are dense enough to have had significant effects on water quality, and management options are limited to manual harvesting, nutrient reduction, biological control, and chemical treatment. Although manual harvesting along the eastern shoreline is ongoing, the bay is too large to implement a large-scale harvesting operation, and nutrient inputs have and will continue to be minimized. Biological and chemical control options are not feasible on such a large scale.
View report (PDF)
Aquatic Plants in Lake Simcoe: Distribution, Environmental Controls and Utility as Ecological Indicators (2011)
In 2008, LSRCA investigated the aquatic plants in Lake Simcoe with respect to species diversity, distribution, biomass, and utility as indicators of lake trophic status. While previous studies (1984, 1987, 2006) focused on Cook's Bay, this study covered the entire lake area and identified four environmental variables controlling plant biomass: depth, substrate type, nutrient loading, and subwatershed area.
In comparison with previous studies in Cook's Bay, the plant community has been altered (since 1984) by invasive species (i.e. Eurasian Watermilfoil), has a greater maximum depth of colonization (10.5 m in 2008, 6.0 m in 1984), and has almost tripled in biomass (1.2 kg/m2 in 1984, 3.1 kg/m2 in 2008).
View report (PDF)
Assimilative Capacity Study
Assimilative capacity is the relationship between water quality and quantity, land use, and the capability of the watercourse or lake, to resist the effects of landscape disturbance without impairment of water quality. An assimilative capacity study was done of the Lake Simcoe watershed in 2006.
Aurora Engineered Wetland Performance Monitoring Report 2013
The Aurora Engineered Wetland represents a new kind of stormwater management facility. Upon completion in 2011, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority undertook performance monitoring of the facility through to October 2012. This report details the findings of that study. Overall the pond has achieved high reductions in total and dissolved phosphorus and total suspended solids and therefore appears to be functioning very well.
Barrie Creeks, Lovers Creek, and Hewitt's Creek Subwatershed Plan
This subwatershed plan looks at the Barrie Creeks, Lovers Creek, and Hewitt's Creek subwatersheds, located in the west-central portion of the Lake Simcoe watershed around the tip of Kempenfelt Bay. These subwatersheds fall mainly within the City of Barrie and Town of Innisfil, with very small portions found in the Townships of Oro-Medonte and Springwater. The Barrie Creeks subwatershed is roughly 37.5 km2 in size, with 75% of its area occupied by urban land uses, and the remaining land mainly occupied by natural features and agriculture. The Lovers Creek subwatershed, which is close to 60 km2, falls just to the east of Barrie Creeks. Natural features and agriculture each occupy close to 35%, with developed land uses accounting for 21% of its area. Finally, the Hewitt's Creek subwatershed has a surface area of only 17.5 km2, over half of which is occupied by agriculture, with natural and urban features both occupying close to 20%.
Beaver River Subwatershed
The Beaver River is the Lake Simcoe watershed’s easternmost subwatershed. The subwatershed is 327.3 km2 in area, with 85.1% of its area within Durham Region and the remaining 14.9% within the City of Kawartha Lakes. The subwatershed includes the Townships of Brock, Scugog, and Uxbridge and the communities of Beaverton, Cannington, Sunderland, Blackwater, Lorneville, Woodville, and Derryville.
Black River Subwatershed
The Black River subwatershed occupies 375 square kilometres of land south of the eastern portion of Lake Simcoe. With the headwaters originating on the Oak Ridges Moraine, the Black's watercourses flow mainly through natural features and agricultural areas throughout much of the system before reaching the community of Sutton and the outlet into Lake Simcoe.
East Holland River Subwatershed
The Holland River is located in the southwest corner of the Lake Simcoe watershed. It is composed of two major tributaries, the East Holland and the Holland/Schomberg. The East Holland River is the smaller of the two, draining approximately 243 square kilometres, or 41 percent, of the total subwatershed.
Management Plan 2001 (PDF)
Ecological Flows Guidance Document
The objective of this report is to offer guidance towards the assessment of ecological flows and water levels in a holistic way. By placing ecological flows and water levels in the context of the natural flow regime, we have recognized that flow variability is essential in maintaining ecological function. It is also acknowledged that non-flow related processes play an important role. Therefore it is critical to integrate the development of an ecological flows and water levels process into the broader watershed management efforts within the Lake Simcoe watershed.
Read the Report (PDF)
A large engineered wetland was constructed to treat stormwater runoff in the Town of Aurora. These reports summarize the effectiveness of this engineered wetland.
Environmental Monitoring Report (2013)
This report provides an overview of factors that influence the health of the Lake Simcoe watershed. LSRCA's extensive monitoring program studies the lake's nearshore ecosystem, water quality and quantity in both the tributaries and groundwater, and biological parameters in the lake's rivers, streams, and creeks. This collection of monitoring data (2007 to 2011) summarizes the watershed's most current conditions and examines long-term and short-term biological and environmental trends.
Read the Report (PDF)
Erosion and Sediment Control Research Study
The purpose of the Erosion and Sediment Control Policies and Practices Research Study for the Lake Simcoe Watershed is for the LSRCA to work collaboratively with local stakeholders to support improvements to erosion and sediment control practices within the Lake Simcoe Watershed, through funding support from the MOECC. The long term goal of this study is to reduce the overall impact of urban stormwater on Lake Simcoe and its tributaries.
Read the Study (PDF)
Innisfil Creeks Subwatershed Plan
This subwatershed plan looks at the tributaries that make up the area known as the Innisfil Creeks subwatershed, which drain into the western side of Lake Simcoe, including Cook's and Kempenfelt Bays. Almost all of the subwatershed area falls within the Town of Innisfil, with 3% falling within the City of Barrie and 1% in the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury. The subwatershed is 107 km2 in area, and consists of 17 named streams, most of which have their headwaters in agricultural areas, and then flow downstream, some through urban areas, before entering the lake.
Integrated Watershed Management Plan
The Lake Simcoe Integrated Watershed Management Plan is intended to be a road-map to provide future direction for the protection and rehabilitation of the watershed ecosystem.
Download the Report (PDF)
Lake Simcoe Basin Stormwater Management and Retrofit Opportunities (2007)
Stormwater runoff represents a major source of pollution to Lake Simcoe and its tributaries. The lake, which is already showing signs of impairment due to anthropogenic activities, is under increasing stress due to urban growth. The purpose of this study is to create a complete, consistent and contemporary data set of all urban catchments, outlets, and existing and potential locations of Stormwater Management Facilities, as well as to calculate the phosphorus load associated with urban stormwater runoff.
Lake Simcoe Comprehensive Monitoring Strategy
The Lake Simcoe Comprehensive Monitoring Strategy (CMS) identifies the state of monitoring, data management and reporting of environmental information on Lake Simcoe and its watershed, and makes recommendations based on the requirements of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. The CMS was compiled by a multi-agency working group consisting of members from the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministries of Natural Resources and Forestry, Environment and Climate Change, and Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. It was released as a companion to the Lake Simcoe Monitoring Report, 2014.
Lake Simcoe Monitoring Report, 2014
The Lake Simcoe Monitoring Report, 2014, provides the long-term trends of all environmental monitoring programs for Lake Simcoe and its watershed, highlighting current research that informs these trends. The report was written by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change with data contributions from the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and York, Durham, and Simcoe and Muskoka Health Units. The Monitoring Report provides the technical environmental monitoring information for the Minister’s Five-Year Report on Lake Simcoe (2015).
Lake Simcoe Protection Plan
The Ontario Ministry of Environment's Lake Simcoe Protection Plan came into effect on June 2, 2009. This watershed-based plan provides a roadmap to help restore and protect the health of Lake Simcoe.
Lake Simcoe Environmental Management Strategy (LSEMS)
LSEMS studies were initiated in 1981 in response to a declining coldwater fishery in Lake Simcoe. Scientists reported that increasing urban development and agricultural activities in Lake Simcoe's drainage basin were filling the lake with excess nutrients. The resulting increase in plant life reduced the oxygen supply in the water, and was identified as a contributing factor in the collapse of the coldwater fishery.
In 1985, the "Final Report and Recommendations of the Steering Committee" recommended that phosphorus inputs from rural and urban sources be reduced. Thanks to a generous financial contribution from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, the Lake Simcoe Environmental Management Strategy launched a website in 2003, featuring on-line LSEMS charts, reports, maps and data providing visitors with unique insight on the state of Lake Simcoe, and efforts to restore this $200 million annual resource to its former glory.
Lake Simcoe Science Newsletters
A series of newsletters written by LSRCA science and monitoring staff. Each volume focusses on the various factors that impact the health of Lake Simcoe and its watershed based on the monitoring data we collect and analyize.
Land Securement Project (2011-2015), Natural Heritage System
The purpose of Natural Heritage System Land Securement Project 2011-2015 is to provide background and direction for the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority’s (LSRCA) land securement program. It outlines target land securement areas and implementation tools for the securement and disposition of natural heritage or other lands by the LSRCA.
View report (PDF)
Mapping Expected Road Mortaility Hotspots for Wildlife
Roads have significant impacts on the ability of wildlife to move throughout their home ranges. Direct mortality of animals related to roads can be particularly significant for species such as frogs, turtles, and salamanders, which travel significant distances from wetlands to uplands to complete their breeding cycle (Fahrig and Rytwinski, 2009). This study tests land cover maps and traffic data to predict areas of wildlife-vehicle collisions hotspots, with the ultimate goal of providing roads planners with maps of areas on which to focus efforts.
View report (PDF)
Maskinonge River Subwatershed
The Maskinonge River subwatershed is located in the south-central portion of the larger Lake Simcoe watershed. It has a drainage area of approximately 60 square kilometres, a little more than two percent of the entire Lake Simcoe watershed. Since the mid-1980s, the Maskinonge River has been plagued by the excessive growth of algae and aquatic plants, most noticeably duckweed.
Modelling of Environmental Flow Targets for the Lovers Creek Subwatershed
Environmental Flows characterize the quantity, timing and quality of river flows needed to support the ecological health and function of a river while still recognizing the human needs and uses of the river. This report is the result of a pilot study intended to develop and test a methodology for developing an Environmental Flow regime for the Lovers Creek subwatershed.
View report (PDF)
Minister’s Five Year Report on Lake Simcoe
To protect and restore the ecological health of the Lake Simcoe watershed Lead statement - The Minister’s Five Year Report on Lake Simcoe outlines actions taken to address the goals of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan and summarizes the results of ongoing environmental monitoring in the watershed.
Minister’s Five Year Report on Lake Simcoe (PDF - English)
Le Rapport quinquennal du ministre sur le lac Simcoe : Protéger et restaurer la santé écologique du bassin versant du lac Simcoe Lead statement - Le Rapport quinquennal du ministre sur le lac Simcoe présente les mesures prises pour réaliser les objectifs du Plan de protection du lac Simcoe et résume les résultats des activités de surveillance environnementale en cours dans le bassin versant.
Le Rapport quinquennal du ministre sur le lac Simcoe (PDF - French)
Musselman's Lake Watershed
The purpose of the Musselman's Lake Subwatershed Assessment and Stewardship Opportunities Report (Stewardship Opportunities Report) is to describe the environmental issues facing Musselman's Lake and its subwatershed and put forward recommendations to remedy or control these environmental issues.The final draft of the Musselman's Lake Subwatershed Assessment and Stewardship Opportunities Report was presented to the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Council on April 7th, 2009.
View report (PDF)
Natural Heritage System for the Lake Simcoe Watershed
This report attempts to identify the components of the Natural Heritage System (NHS): significant habitats for endangered and threatened species, wetlands, woodlands, valleylands, wildlife and fish habitats, areas of natural and scientific interest, and linkages. The report also attempts to provide the criteria and mapping to the planning authority. The NHS is based on land use mapping for the entire watershed.
View report (PDF)
View NHS map (PDF)
Oak Ridges Moraine and Adjacent Greenbelt Lands Environmental Health Report Card (2015)
This report card was prepared by the Conservation Authorities Moraine Coalition (CAMC) to provide science-based information to inform the 2015 review of the Greenbelt Plan and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan. Key funding support generously provided by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.Grades for subwatersheds in the Lake Simcoe watershed
Oro & Hawkestone Creeks Subwatershed Plan
This subwatershed plan looks at three separate, but fairly similar, subwatersheds lying in the northwest portion of the Lake Simcoe watershed, with their headwaters originating on the Oro Moraine: Oro Creeks North (75 km2 within the Township of Oro-Medonte, with just over 20% falling within the City of Orillia), Hawkestone Creek (48 km2 entirely within the Township of Oro-Medonte), and Oro Creeks South (57 km2 also fully within the Township of Oro-Medonte). This subwatershed plan was prepared under the direction of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan (LSPP)
Oro Moraine Report Card, 2010
The report card provides a summary of environmental health on the Oro Moraine. It is the first report card based on a physiographic feature in Ontario and represents an innovative approach to feature-based reporting.
The Pefferlaw River subwatershed is approximately 425 km2 in area, located on the eastern side of the Lake Simcoe watershed. It lies almost entirely within the Regional Municipality of Durham, with a small portion in York Region. It includes the Townships of Brock, Scugog, Uxbridge, and Georgina, and the communities of Pefferlaw, Udora, Sandford, and Siloam.
Report on Phosphorus Loads to Lake Simcoe
Phosphorus was identified as a problem for the health of the lake in the 1970s. We have been monitoring it to help us understand its sources and impacts. The purpose of the report is to share with our watershed partners the most current data about the amount of phosphorus entering the lake.
The following report presents our findings for the period 2007-2009:
Report on Phosphorus Loads to Lake Simcoe, 2007-2009 (PDF) | Phosphorus Loads Report FAQs (PDF)
The following report presents our findings for the period 2004-2007:
Report on Phosphorus Loads to Lake Simcoe, 2004-2007 (PDF)
Annual Water Balances, Total Phosphorus Budgets and Total Nitrogen and Chloride Loads to Lake Simcoe
This report is meant to complement the corresponding "Report on Phosphorus Loads to Lake Simcoe" above and provides technical details including the methodology used for all components of the phosphorus load calculations.
Estimation of Phosphorus Loadings to Lake Simcoe, September 2010
This report estimates phosphorus loadings to Lake Simcoe under various scenarios: The Base Case (existing conditions), Growth, and selected BMP scenarios. An understanding of the amount and sources of phosphorus delivered to the lake, the amount that could result from future projected watershed development, and the amount after implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) is necessary to successfully develop a nutrient strategy necessary to meet the dissolved oxygen target for Lake Simcoe. The tools used to achieve the objective are the modeling programs Canadian Nutrient and Watershed Evaluation Tool (CANWET™) (version 3.0) and the Pollution Reduction Impact Comparison Tool (PRedICT)...
In partnership with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority tested a phosphorus reduction product called Phoslock in 2008. The project investigated the effectiveness of Phoslock in both lab and field tests within the Lake Simcoe watershed. The field trials were conducted in the Scanlon Pond Reservoir and the Cane Parkway (aquatic ecosystems in the Lake Simcoe watershed). A series of toxicity tests with sediment and water column dwelling organisms were performed to assess the toxicity of Phoslock granules. Phoslock is a modified bentonite clay product developed, produced by Australia's CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization), to permanently bind phosphorous in systems where phosphorous levels lead to problematic algal bloom formation.
Phoslock Report (PDF)
Phoslock Toxicity Report (PDF)
Ramara Creeks Subwatershed Plan
This subwatershed plan looks at the tributaries that make up the Ramara Creeks subwatershed, located in the northeast of the Lake Simcoe watershed. The subwatershed falls entirely within the Township of Ramara, and includes the communities of Brechin, Bayshore Village, and the unique canal community of Lagoon City. It is 137 km2 in size, and consists of a number of tributaries, many of which are primarily municipal drains flowing through agricultural areas. These include the Donnelly, Gettings, McNabb, Harrington, Murray, O’Connell, and Ross Drains, as well as a natural watercourse called Wainman’s Creek.
Retrofitting of Urban Stormwater Management Facilities Using Innovative Technologies: Comparison of Three Innovative Solutions
Through the Ontario Ministry of Environment's Showcasing Water Innovation program, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) worked with our community, municipal and other government partners to implement stormwater management retrofits. Three facilities recognized in our watershed management plans were identified for retrofit: George Richardson (Newmarket), Colony Trail (East Gwillimbury), and Lincoln Pond (Uxbridge). In this case study we compare the efficiency of three innovative technology approaches to retrofitting stormwater management ponds, each designed to decrease the level of phosphorous and other pollutants discharged to the receiving water body. This project has received funding support from the Government of Ontario.
View the report - French (PDF)
Appendix to above (PDF)
Rogers Reservoir Conservation Area Management Plan
After several years of public consultation, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority is pleased to announce the release of the Rogers Reservoir Conservation Area Management Plan.
View the management plan (PDF)
Salt Vulnerable Areas Within the Lake Simcoe Watershed
The purpose of this study is to identify and map geographic areas in the Lake Simcoe watershed that are vulnerable to water quality impairment caused by the application of salt for the purpose of winter maintenance of roads, parking lots, and sidewalks (i.e. ‘salt vulnerable areas’). The results of this study will be used to help focus education and outreach projects, and will be provided to watershed municipalities for use in road operations and strategic planning.
View the report (PDF)
Scanlon Creek Conservation Area Management Plan
After several years of public consultation, Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority is pleased to announce the release of the Scanlon Creek Conservation Area Management Plan and Stewardship Plan.
View the management plan (PDF)
Scanlon Creek Class Environmental Assessment - Notice of Approval
In March 2011, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority completed the planning and design process approved under the Environmental Assessment Act in the "Class Environmental Assessment for Remedial Flood and Erosion Control Projects" for undertaking a project to naturalize the area in and around the reservoir at Scanlon Creek Conservation Area.
This study examined ways of naturalizing the area in and around the existing reservoir in order to improve aquatic habitat values, while maintaining or enhancing recreational and educational values in the conservation area. The preferred methods of improving aquatic habitat values in the creek, as identified by this Class Environmental Assessment include assisting landowners in the Scanlon Creek subwatershed to implement riparian best management practices on their land, and to decommission the dam in Scanlon Creek Reservoir, and restore the creek to its pre-dam condition.
Sheppard's Bush Management Plan
After months of public consultation, we are pleased to announce the release of the Sheppard’s Bush Conservation Area Management Plan.
Species at Risk
The Lake Simcoe watershed is home to at least 32 "Species at Risk." They live in wetlands, in forests, on farmland, in streams and even in Lake Simcoe itself.
Stormwater Management Master Plan Guidelines
This document provides direction to municipalities on how to prepare and implement comprehensive stormwater management master plans for settlement areas located in the Lake Simcoe watershed, in accordance with the intent of Policy 4.5-SA of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.
Stormwater Pond Maintenance and Anoxic Conditions Report
Urban stormwater runoff is widely recognized as a significant source of pollutants to Lake Simcoe and accounts for an estimated 14 percent of annual phosphorus (P) loading. Therefore, interception and treatment of these waters is crucial to maintain the ecological health of receiving streams and lakes. This is most commonly achieved through the use of stormwater ponds of which there are 135 quality facilities in the Lake Simcoe watershed. In 2010, a survey of 98 ponds was conducted to evaluate the efficiency of these ponds as compared with their original design efficiency and investigate the prevalence of low oxygen conditions in stormwater ponds. Both these factors influence the ability of the pond to effectively trap and retain sediments and nutrients. The study found that the majority of ponds are experiencing low oxygen conditions and require some degree of clean out maintenance and are therefore not achieving the nutrient reductions previously assumed.
View report (PDF)
Strategic Plan, 2016-2020: Vision to Action, Action to Results
Our goal is for this watershed to be healthier in 2041 than it is today. It may sound simple, but we know the solutions are not. We will get there by pursuing activities that support our vision of a thriving environment that inspires and sustains us, and our mission to work with our community to protect and restore the watershed.
This strategic plan sets our priorities for the next five years and how we will align our resources to achieve success – with a focus on results, a commitment to accountability, business excellence and a more connected watershed community.
View report (PDF)
Subwatershed Plans Implementation Report
To meet the recommendations of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan (LSPP), the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) and its partners have been developing subwatershed plans to focus protection and restoration efforts in Lake Simcoe's subwatersheds. After the plans are completed, LSRCA continues to work with municipal and provincial partners to implement the plans' recommendations.
This report summarizes progress made in 2015 on achieving subwatershed plan recommendations.
Upper York Sewage Solutions (UYSS)
Full and transparent decision-making is important to the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority and our partners. Since 2010, our staff have been involved in the consultation process with York Region on the development of the Upper York Sewage Solutions (UYSS). We will continue to be involved and engaged in all stages of the Environmental Assessment (EA) as the project moves forward.
Visit the Upper York Sewage Solutions section of this website for more information.
Uxbridge Brook Watershed Plan (1997)
The watershed planning process uses drainage boundaries and embraces an ecosystem approach, which recognizes that "everything is connected to everything else." In recognition of the need for carefully managed growth to protect the area's natural resources, the Uxbridge Brook Watershed Plan identifies resources, management issues, and recommends development constraints and best management practices for the watershed.
View report (PDF)
Uxbridge Country Preserve Management Plan
The Uxbridge Countryside Preserve, located in the heart of Uxbridge, was opened for public use in 2005. The preserve covers approximately 40 hectares of rolling landscape on the Oak Ridges Moraine. With its central location, extensive network of trails and space for activities year-round, the Uxbridge Countryside Preserve is a favourite destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
View report (PDF)
This study was conducted to look at the technical feasibility of water reuse, and explore available supply, demand and the cost benefit for various reuse options. We also provide a summary of findings from a scan of local stakeholder and public attitudes towards the concept of reclaiming treated wastewater.
Watershed Report Card
Monitoring and protecting the watershed is a very important part of our overall effort to preserve the health of the environment upon which we all depend. We work with our partners year-round to provide the best scientific investigation of the health of the watershed and to establish programs for its protection and restoration. This includes continually monitoring, evaluating and communicating the results. One way to inform our community about the health of our watershed is through our Watershed Report Card.
West Holland River Subwatershed
The West Holland River subwatershed occupies 354 square kilometres of land immediately to the southwest of the tip of Lake Simcoe's Cook's Bay. Originating on the Oak Ridges Moraine, the headwaters of the subwatershed flow through mainly forested and agricultural areas before entering the Holland Marsh. The system then flows past the Town of Bradford, and then past forested and agricultural areas before discharging into Lake Simcoe.