Lake Simcoe-Couchiching Basin environmental strategy
In the early 1970's, the Ontario Ministry of Environment undertook a water quality evaluation of Lake Simcoe. The results of the 4-year study were documented in a 1975 report entitled Lake Simcoe Basin - A Water Quality and Use Study. This report concluded that the general water quality of Lake Simcoe was good, but that there was evidence of water quality problems which could be related to man's activities in the watershed. During the same period (early 1970's), the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, through its fisheries program, established the fact that significant changes in the Lake Simcoe fishery were becoming apparent. A decline in the cold-water fishery was of particular concern. At the same time, local residents and cottagers on Lake Simcoe were expressing concern that the quality of the lake was in jeopardy. In light of local concerns and recent data from the Ministries of Environment and Natural Resources, the Township of Georgina sponsored a one-day conference at Keswick (September, 1975). Councillor Shillington, who arranged the conference, received considerable support for the need to deal with the environmental matters in a co-ordinated, influential manner. A number of meetings and discussions subsequent to the "Keswick Conference" resulted in the formation of two committees - the Lakes Simcoe-Couchiching Report Committee and the Lakes Simcoe-Couchiching Steering Committee. The memberships of these two Committees are detailed in APPENDIX B. The Report Committee was directed by the Cabinet Committee on Resources Development (CCRD) to: a) assess the types and magnitude of environmental problems in the Lake Simcoe-Couchiching area; b) identify the causes of these problems; and, c) propose a strategy for dealing with the problems. After consultation with the Steering Committee, the final report was to be forwarded to CCRD for review and direction. The Report Committee met during 1977 and 1978. Also, there were meetings of the Steering Committee during this period, as well as joint discussions between the two Committees. The tasks of the Committees were divided into five phases, with a chapter of the final report relating to each phase: Chapter 1 Background information; Chapter 2 Problem identification; Chapter 3 Alternative environmental development strategies; Chapter 4 "Costing" of management alternatives; and Chapter 5 Environmental strategy and implementation.