Lake Simcoe Science Newsletters
A series of newsletters written by LSRCA science and monitoring staff. Each volume focuses on the numerous factors that impact the health of Lake Simcoe and its watershed based on the monitoring data we collect and analyze.
There is no one cause and no one solution to managing the health of Lake Simcoe, but it begins with an integrated approach to managing the entire Lake Simcoe watershed. The watershed is a complex and dynamic system that changes over time in response to both human activities and natural events.
Halt the Salt
Since Volume 8, Sodium Chloride, we’ve been busy working with other agencies to get a better understanding of the scope of the problem and to find solutions to reduce reliance on winter salt, without compromising public safety. This issue explains what we've learned.
Hatching Friendships through Fish, Part 1
We explore the partnership between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), Waabgon Gamig First Nation School and Morning Glory Public School. We'll explore how the Lake Trout Hatchery Program was developed, how all partners are involved, and how the program was expanded.
Hatching Friendships through Fish, Part 2
Part two of the "Hatching Friendships through Fish" series reveals how Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority got involved in a further expansion of the program, including adding an aquatic plants component to the fish rearing and release activity.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Part 1
Every day, decisions are being made with information provided by GIS. From predicting weather, to identifying flood prone areas, to analyzing crime patterns, to deciding where to locate facilities like shopping malls, GIS plays a role because these geographic problems require spatial thinking.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Part 2
In order to protect and restore the Lake Simcoe watershed, we need to understand it. GIS makes it possible for us to see the bigger picture – to be able to calculate the sum total of all the natural features that comprise what is known as our “natural heritage”. This issue explores the role of GIS specifically at LSRCA.
Flooding is the most dangerous natural hazard in Ontario in terms of property damage, civil disruption and even death. In this article, we take a look at how LSRCA manages flood forecasting and protection to provide early warning of possible risks to people and property from flooding.
With the ever-increasing encroachment of human settlement and the resulting expansion of road networks, wildlife habitats are getting smaller and further apart. In this article, we discuss the impact of roads on turtle populations and how wildlife eco-passages can reduce mortality.
Mussel Loss, Mussel Gain
We examine how the invasive mussel population has shifted from a predominately zebra mussel population to predominately quagga mussels and what the implications may be for Lake Simcoe.
Applying Innovation to Phosphorus Monitoring
In a pilot project initiated in 2011, LSRCA installed four turbidity probes at test locations throughout the watershed to evaluate the effectiveness of using turbidity to measure phosphorus.
The presence of different bugs in the Lake Simcoe watershed can tell us a lot about its health. We collect, identify and translate the stories and learnings from the microscopic bugs we find living in deep in the mud of our rivers and streams. Knowing the tolerances of these species can tell us a lot about the environmental conditions in which they were found.
Groundwater serves as a primary drinking water source in our watershed and plays an important ecological role. It supports the health and well-being of many natural systems that contribute to a healthy watershed, such as wetlands, rivers and streams.
Sodium Chloride (Winter Salt)
Winter salt is one of the more common de-icers used on roads, highways, parking lots, driveways and sidewalks. Excess salt disrupts freshwater ecosystems, contaminates drinking water supplies, kills vegetation, disturbs wildlife and damages urban infrastructure. Nearly all watershed monitoring stations show an increasing trend in chloride concentrations over the long term, indicating the widespread increase in winter salt application.
Low Impact Development (LID)
When land is developed the natural water cycle is changed. More hard surfaces (pavement) increase runoff and prevents rain and snow from infiltrating into the ground. As communities continue to grow LSRCA is exploring alternative strategies to manage stormwater runoff in a more sustainable manner.
The Phosphorus Cycle
We've published many reports and studies on our research about how much phosphorus is going into Lake Simcoe. In this article, we take a look at phosphorus from another perspective - from within the lake itself.
Local Perspective on Climate Change
Climate change is considered to be one of the most pressing global environmental and humanitarian issues of our time. But what is global is also local. In the Lake Simcoe watershed, we are seeing variation and changes to our regional climate.
As part of the natural water cycle, rivers play an important role in the health and function of our watershed. When it rains, water moves across the landscape into the river. We monitor and measure changes in stream flow resulting from urbanization by comparing how streams respond in different landscapes.
A Fish Tale
The biodiversity of fish species at a site tells us how healthy that section of stream is. Using a scientific tool known as an Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) we assign a health score and compare various stream systems within the watershed as well as track changes at sites over time.
In the past 200 years close to 150 species of foreign plants and animals have established themselves in the Great Lakes Region. A couple of the most well-known invasive species in Lake Simcoe are Zebra mussels and Quagga mussels.
Aquatic plants supply life-giving qualities to a lake by providing important shelter, food and nursery areas for fish, and by helping to trap sediments. When a lake receives an increased amount of nutrients such as phosphorus, aquatic plants may begin to grow in over-abundance and become a nuisance. An even bigger problem is when the plants decay and use up the oxygen that is vital to the survival of fish.