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Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

Skip Navigation LinksLake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority > Technical Reports and Studies

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Technical Reports and Studies​

We undertake or are in​vo​lved in studies of both the region's subwatershed​ and the Lake Simcoe 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.

Browse the list of our available reports and studies below. 

We've recently made some changes to our list of available reports 

Reports that are currently available on our website will include a link, while other reports will be available on request. If you are unable to find a specific report, please contact communications@LSRCA.on.ca.​


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​ and provides technical details including the methodology used for all components of the phosphorus load calculations.

Contact communications@LSRCA.on.ca​ to request a copy of this report


Adapting Forestry Programs for Climate Change

LSRCA has undertaken a comprehensive study into the impacts of climate change on tree planting and forest management, and the ways in which these programs might be adapted for climate change. This project is intended to provide knowledge transfer to LSRCA staff, municipal staff and members of environmental non-governmental organizations active in the Lake Simcoe watershed, on how to include climate change considerations in planning for afforestation, natural area enhancement and restoration and urban tree planting​.

Adapting Forestry Programs for Climate Change​ (Published: 2018)


Aquatic Plants in Lake Simcoe: Distribution, Environmental Controls and Utility as Ecological Indicators

​Published 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).

Contact communications@LSRCA.on.ca​ to request a copy of this report​​


Chemical Contaminants in Lake Simcoe and its Tributaries

In 2015, a study was undertaken to investigate levels of chemical contaminants in the surface water and sediments of Lake Simcoe and its tributaries. The contaminants included in this study were chosen based on historical use within the watershed, previous research, and literature from similar areas in the Great Lakes Region. As such, this study included: petroleum hydrocarbons (or PHCs); polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); phenols; metals, including chromium and mercury; organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), including DDT and its metabolites; neutral chlorinated compounds (NCCs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).​​

Chemical Contaminants in Lake Simcoe and its Tributaries (Published: 2020)​


Climate Change Adaptation Strategy

​There is no doubt that our climate is changing. We have the data to show it and we know that people are feeling its impact. We also know that our approach to climate change adaptation needs to be strategic. That’s why one of our strategic priorities for 2016-2020 was to develop a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy. 

This strategy reviews the potential impacts of a changing climate on watershed function and recommends changes to our programs and services to ensure they remain effective at protecting the Lake Simcoe watershed in projected future climates.​​ Read a summary of the report.​

Climate Change Adaptation Strategy​ (Published: 2020)


Climate Change Mitigation Strategy

The pervasive and significant impacts climate change is projected to have on Lake Simcoe and its watershed highlights the importance of taking action to reduce or mitigate greenhouse gas levels. This is especially critical if we are to help achieve a change from the current business as usual scenario to one of lower impact such as the mid-carbon scenario (RCP 4.5). Although the Lake Simcoe watershed is a small player in the global fight against climate change, collective action through both mitigation and adaptation will help to lessen the potential negative impacts on our watershed and ultimately, the planet as a whole. ​

Our Climate Mitigation Strategy identifies the main sources and sinks of greenhouse gases within the watershed. This overall understanding of the watershed's carbon budget will feed into recommendations for how we can mitigate climate change.

​Climate Change Mitigation Strategy​ (Published: 2020)


Distribution and Change in Impervious Cover in the Lake Simcoe Watershed

Comprehensive air photo coverage of the Lake Simcoe watershed in 2002/2003, 2008, and 2013 have permitted the development of a time series of land cover maps, and an analysis of changes in impervious cover. In 2013, impervious cover in the watershed was at 4.3%. This general land cover class, which includes roads, parking lots, and buildings has increased since 2002, as the watershed’s population has increased. 

This project improved resolution of l​and cover mapping in the Lake Simcoe watershed to permit more accurate tracking of changes in impervious land use and to support more focused delivery of programs related to urban stormwater, including LID implementation, stormwater retrofits, and salt reduction programming.

Contact communications@LSRCA.on.ca​ to request a copy of this report​​


Equitable Responsibility for Transformative Design: A systems-based approach to stormwater management​

We've been en​gaged in a ground-breaking research study in an effort to improve stormwater management, introduce savings, and address the impacts of urbanization, degraded water quality, flooding and climate change.

The project, “Equitable Responsibility for Transformative Design: A systems-based approach to watershed management" demonstrated that improved environmental outcomes can be achieved at lower costs if stormwater is planned at a watershed-scale and considers the use of both publicly and privately owned lands.

summary report can be accessed here​ and the full technical report can be provided by contacting communications@LSRCA.on.ca


Erosion and Sediment Control Research Study

​Published 2016

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.

Contact communications@LSRCA.on.ca​ to request a copy of this report​​


Infiltration Based LID Suitability East Holland

Determining the most suitable locations for infiltration based LID practices requires an understanding of the shallow subsurface including the geology and hydrogeology. To help guide infiltration based LID placement, the Shallow Subsurface Characterization Project aims to provide an improved understanding of the shallow subsurface through the development of a GIS layer that identifies the suitability of locations within the East Holland River Subwatershed for infiltration based LID projects.

Infiltration Based LID Suitability East Holland


​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.

Contact communications@LSRCA.on.ca​ to request a copy of this report​​​​


​Mapping Expected Road Mortality 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.

​Mapping Expected Road Mortality Hotspots for Wildlife​ (Published: 2015)​


​Natural Heritage System and Restoration Strategy

The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority has developed a Natural Heritage System and Restoration Strategy for the Lake Simcoe watershed. This Natural Heritage System is an update to the previous Natural Heritage System for the Lake Simcoe Watershed, Phase 1 (Beacon Environmental & LSRCA, 2007).​

Natural Heritage System and Restoration Strategy ​(Published: 2018)


Parking Lot Design Guidelines to Promote Salt Reduction

In an effort to reduce winter salt application rates in the Lake Simcoe watershed, LSRCA has developed design guidelines for parking lots on commercial and institutional properties to promote the construction of sites that do not require as much salt application for winter maintenance. This report summarizes the project and includes design feature drawings, fact sheets and site plan design drawings.

Parking Lot Design Guidelines to Promote Salt Reduction (Published: 2017)​


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.

Phosphorus Loads Update, 2015- 2017
Phosphorus Loads Re​port FAQs 


Residential Stormwater Management Pilot Project

Downspout Redirection 2017

This project investigates the feasibility of running a cost-effective residential stormwater management program that focusses on redirecting downspouts away from impervious surfaces towards areas where infiltration can occur. 

Contact communications@LSRCA.on.ca​ to request a copy of this report​​


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, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority 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.

Contact communications@LSRCA.on.ca​ to request a copy of this report​​​


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.

Salt Vulnerable Areas within the Lake Simcoe watershed (Published: 2015)​​


​Stream Monitoring in the Tributaries of Lake Simcoe: Fish 

Technical Progress Series in Stream Monitoring: Report No.1

As part of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority tributary monitoring program, fish assemblages have been monitored since 2002 and water temperature data has been collected since 2003. The purpose of this monitoring program is to track the health of fish populations in the streams of the Lake Simcoe watershed and to assess spatial and temporal trends.

Contact communications@LSRCA.on.ca​ to request a copy of this report​​


​Stormwater Database Report: Phase II

This study investigates way to improve the ability of municipalities to adopt best practices for stormwater management works inspection, maintenance, and record keeping. 

Stormwater Database Report (Published: 2018)


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 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. 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.

Contact communications@LSRCA.on.ca​ to request a copy of this report​​


Technical Bulletin - Salt Versus Sand

​This technical bulletin will explore the efficacy of the use of sand for winter maintenance, its associated environmental issues, and where its use is most appropriate.

Volume 1 - Sand as an alternative to winter salt​​​

​Valuing Natural Capital in the Lake Simcoe watershed

The people, animals and plants that live in the Lake Simcoe watershed rely on the ecosystem goods and services that the natural environment provides for their existence. Green Analytics was commissioned by LSRCA to provide an updated assessment of ecosystem service values provided by the natural capital resources within the Lake Simcoe watershed.

​​Ecosystem Service Values (Published: 2017)​​