A Clean Up Rural Beaches (CURB) plan for the Big Otter Creek

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Fausto, J. Arnel

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Queen's Printer for Ontario

Abstract

The CURB (Clean Up Rural Beaches) Plan is a report which outlines the specific remedial projects required to improve water quality at the Lake Erie Beaches of Port Burwell and Sandhills Park Regions. In recent years, water pollution from rural and urban land management practices has led to water quality impairment at beach areas resulting in beach closures. Recent water quality analyses in the Big Otter Creek watershed have shown that high phosphorous concentrations and fecal coliform bacterial counts periodically exist throughout the watershed. During the summers of 1991 and 1992, the beaches of Port Burwell and the Sandhills Region were closed by the Elgin-St. Thomas County Board of Health due to elevated fecal coliform levels. Evidently, the major causes of these beach closures can be attributed to point and non-point sources of pollutants resulting from land-use activities along the Big Otter Creek watercourse and from the shoreward dispersion of pollutants by lakeshore drift. The CURB plan is a result of a five month study which began in April 1992 in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. It is based on air surveys, farm interviews and questionnaires, water quality data, stream surveys, and field assessments. The CURB plan incorporates a simple quantitative model of all sources of bacterial pollution which is believed to impact the beach areas. The result of the CURB study is a remedial action plan designed to reduce the impact of agricultural practices on water quality of the Big Otter Creek. The remedial action plan provides a framework for long term upgrading and protection of recreational water quality.

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Keywords

Archive of Agri-Environmental Programs in Ontario, Rural Beaches Strategy Program, RBS, Clean Up Rural Beaches Program, CURB, watershed, rural beaches, water quality, pollution, conservation practices, fecal coliform, phosphorus loading

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