Clean Up Rural Beaches (CURB) plan for the Sauble River watershed

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Grey Sauble Conservation Authority
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Queen's Printer for Ontario

In response to the ever-growing number of beach closures in Southern Ontario, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (O.M.O.E.) initiated a study to determine and design solutions for sources of agricultural pollution in identified watersheds throughout the province. In 1986, the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority was approached by O.M.O.E. Rural Beaches Staff about commencing a study of the Sauble River watershed because of the river's potential impact on Sauble Beach, a popular tourist attraction during the summer season. This study would include the collecting of water quality data, field surveys, landowner interviews and the reading of air photos to determine areas of high priority. The watershed was divided into 14 subwatersheds based on the location of tributary junctions and was sampled accordingly. The purpose of this report is to outline a 'Clean Up Rural Beaches Plan' (C.U.R.B.) specifically for the Sauble River Watershed, an area 967 km2 in size. Study results indicate that free livestock access is the major contributor of agricultural pollution in the watershed occurring on a total of 173 farms. Poor manure spreading and storage practices also pose significant problems occurring on 158 and 56 farms respectively. Faulty septic systems were identified on 27 farms and 23 farms exhibited poor milkhouse water control. This study recommends cost-effective remedial measures including restricted cattle access, proper manure storage facilities, proper milkhouse water control and replacement of faulty septic systems to improve and maintain water quality throughout the watershed and at Sauble Beach. Total cost of this remedial work is estimated to be $3,530,660.00. Other recommendations including increased public awareness, continued research and funding, related legislation and local government involvement are also discussed in this report.

Rural Beaches Strategy (RBS) Program
Clean Up Rural Beaches (CURB) Program
watershed, rural beaches, water quality, pollution, fecal coliform, manure management