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Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

Skip Navigation LinksLake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority > 2019 Annual Report Messages

​​​​A Message from our CAO 

​Michael Walters, Chief Administrative Officer

mike-walters-cao.jpgSince we first began to really understand the impacts of human activity on the land and the water, there has been a movement in Ontario to mitigate, restore and regenerate – it’s known as the conservation movement. 

LSRCA has been ​dedicated to this conservation movement since our humble beginnings in 1951, when we were first known as the Upper Holland Valley Conservation Authority. 

Our original mandate was nearly all encompassing of the still-major issues of today - soil and water conservation, forest management and reforestation, pollution abatement and wildlife protection. Due to our unique focus on watershed management, it was no surprise that after hurricane Hazel, in 1954, the Province expanded our mandate and the Conservation Authorities Act to include flood plain management and flood forecasting and warning. Over time our role has continued to evolve to meet the needs of our many partners and to respond to new challenges, including climate change, in order to protect and improve the health and quality of Lake Simcoe and its watershed. 

Reflecting on this year, I’m proud of our many accomplishments. With climate change squarely in our focus, we’re working to reduce our own carbon emissions and released our 2018 progress report. We completed a Climate Change Mitigation Strategy and developed a watershed​-wide greenhouse gas emissions inventory that will help us develop a carbon budget for the watershed, plus we’ll be launching our Climate Change Adaptation Strategy in the coming months. We completed nearly one hundred restoration projects across the watershed and finalized our Natural Heritage Land System Securement project. We moved well into the design phase to build a new Nature Centre to house our growing education programs, and we took the lead on a groundbreaking study to find the most cost-effective infrastructure solution to deal with stormwater runoff from a watershed perspective. 

Capping off 2019; while global youth environmentalist Greta Thunberg’s urges to plant trees to tackle climate change were going viral, here at home we were celebrating our own forest technician, Paul Cottenden, and his impressive achievement of planting one million trees! We’re ever mindful that a singular action like planting a tree is still one of the easiest and most effective actions any one of us can take to begin to alleviate our personal footprint here on our planet. 

So, with 2019 behind us, we eagerly look forward to enlisting the support of our partners, stakeholders and watershed community to implement the many strategies we’ve now developed. All the while, we’ll continue to seek out more efficient and effective ways of achieving our vision of a thriving Lake Simcoe that inspires and sustains us for generations to come.​​

​A Message from our Chair 

​Wayne Emmerson, LSRCA Chair, Regional Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Regional Municipality of York

wayne-emmerson.jpgIt has been a privilege and a pleasure over this last year to be a member of the Board of Directors and to take on the role of Chair. 

Certainly, I was familiar with LSRCA’s reputation as a leading-edge conservation organization dedicated to conserving, restoring and managing the watershed, but participating on the Board of Directors has really offered me a new perspective. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to see first-hand, the innovative initiatives, the quality service and care that staff put into their work and I’m continually impressed with their knowledge, dedication and their considerable impact on the overall health of our environment. 

One of the highlights for me this year was attending our annual conservation awards ceremony, where 21 deserving recipients received special recognition for the value they bring to this watershed through their environmental actions. Their accomplishments, their passion and their determination are inspiring and indicative of what happens when people make a personal connection with nature. 

I’m honoured to play a part in our mission to “work with our community to protect and restore the Lake Simcoe watershed by leading research, policy and action” and I look forward to what the future brings.​​