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Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

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Lake Simcoe Phosphorus Offset Program (LSPOP)

The Lake Simcoe Protection Plan (LSPP) requires that future population growth in our watershed be accommodated without increasing phosphorus loads to Lake Simcoe. Current land-based activities along with atmospheric deposition contribute the majority of phosphorus that enters the Lake.

Water quality, particularly in many of our rivers, is poor. Many exceed water quality targets set by the Province of Ontario, yet the Lake Simcoe watershed is anticipating continued and significant growth over the next 20 to 30 years. These – sometimes – competing objectives of growth and improved environmental quality are the driving force behind the Lake Simcoe Phosphorus Offset Program (LSPOP).

Based on the Ontario Ministry of the Environment's Water Quality Trading in the Lake Simcoe Watershed Feasibility Study, (PDF) the Lake Simcoe Phosphorus Offset Program (LSPOP) was developed to promote greater phosphorus reductions to offset the increases from future urban expansion.

Phase I of this program will be implemented from 2014 to 2018.

This project was initiated by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) and was partially funded through a grant from the Province of Ontario's Showcasing Water Innovation program, the City of Barrie, and the Regional Municipality of York.

Water Quality Trading

The Citizen's Guide to Water Quality Trading (PDF) provides an overview of water quality trading to help you understand how water quality trading works and how it might be applied in the Lake Simcoe watershed.

Water Quality Trading (WQT) is a version of pollution trading designed to address issues of water quality. In theory WQT allows dischargers to meet environmental objectives at lower cost and with more flexibility than other types of regulations. It builds on the fact that pollution sources, generally located in the same watershed or subwatershed, often face different costs to control, depending on what the pollutant is. Dischargers facing lower costs are in a position to reduce their pollution discharges more quickly and cost-effectively, and to trade to other dischargers what are often referred to as pollution reduction credits.

WQT, like other market-based approaches, is not an alternative solution; it works in conjunction with, pollution control regulations. Water Quality Trading builds on current industry practices and usually complements other government tools, some that are regulatory in nature and others that are voluntary, such as agricultural stewardship programs.