Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you have a question? We'll try to answer it here.

These are some Frequently Asked Questions:


  • What is stormwater?

    • Storms lead to water running over land.
      When storm events happen, rain falls or snow melts.
      Quick-flowing water then runs over land and surfaces such as parking lots, lawns, fields, or streets.
      That runoff can transport pollution to local watercourses.
      Water running over land during storm events can can carry bacteria, chemicals, and sediment.
      Those contaminants could then enter storm sewers, drains, creeks, rivers, and Lake Huron.
      You can help reduce runoff.     
      You can help to slow that running water down, hold it back, and let it soak into the ground.That process of infiltration can help filter the water and prevent pollution.
      You can ACT now - with Avoid, Control, and Trap/Treat solutions.
      A: Reduce paved and hard surfaces; plant trees, shrubs, native species and increase natural cover; plant cover crops; use no-till or minimum-till conservation tillage; and increase the ability of plants to take up nutrients and for water to be filtered through the soil; maintain crop residue; plant treed windbreaks along roadsides or fields to prevent erosion and connect woodlots.
      C: Slow down water runoff with grassed waterways and berms; use rain gardens, soakaway pits, infiltration trenches, and other landscape solutions.
      T: Plant and maintain streamside buffers to slow down and hold overland flow of water, prevent erosion, and provide habitat.
      Reducing erosion can help you to keep your valuable soil,
      prevent loss of land,
      and keep sediment and pollutants out of water.

      What is stormwater?

      Stormwater is water that comes from rain, snow, and other precipitation and flows over the surface. This water may flow over parking lots, lawns, fields, golf courses, roads, sidewalks, and other surface features. As the water flows over land and other features, this moving water can pick up sediment, bacteria, nutrients, pathogens, chemicals, phosphorous, nitrogen, and other pollutants. Stormwater is also water that is not treated by other wastewater management techniques. Stormwater can carry pollutants into nearby watercourses like creeks, drains, culverts, rivers, and lakes (like Lake Huron), if best management practices, projects to create barriers, proper design, and other measures aren't in place to limit its influence on water.

      Stormwater that is not well managed can impact the quality of lake water used as a raw source for drinking water and human recreation, make water dirty (cloudy and turbid), and impact habitat for animals such as fish. Stormwater runoff is a concern in both urban and rural areas and needs to be addressed in different ways in different situations. The type and quantity of land cover can affect rural stormwater and the geography, topography, slope, and elevation can also influence it.


  • What is the Rural Stormwater Management Model Project?

    • Community, government, and agency partners are developing a Rural Stormwater Management Model between 2011 and 2014.

      The project is breaking new ground. There is no other computer model quite like this one. It is new, comprehensive, and is designed specifically to work in rural areas.  It will improve knowledge of how agricultural and rural drainage function in a rural landscape. This new technology will acquire more detailed and precise information on how to manage any stormwater impact during spring time and heavy rainfall events. This increased understanding will help to effectively reduce and manage run-off by strategically investing limited stewardship dollars on the right projects in the right places.

      Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) will lead the water-quality project in partnership with Maitland Valley, St. Clair Region, Saugeen Valley, and Grey-Sauble conservation authorities and other partners of the Healthy Lake Huron: Clean Water, Clean Beaches (Lake Huron Southeast Shores) initiative. This is an inter-agency partnership. Project partners include landowners, provincial and federal ministries, county departments, and environmental agencies.

      The Ontario Ministry of the Environment announced, on December 20, 2011, a Showcasing Water Innovation Program grant of $700,000 towards this new, and truly rural, model for stormwater management. Additional support and in-kind contributions will come from other funding partners. Total investment in this new environmental technology will total more than $900,000. The project will increase monitoring and introduce five new water monitoring stations in five priority watersheds along Lake Huron’s southeast shores in a rural part of Ontario stretching from Sarnia to Tobermory. For more information on the five priority watersheds visit: The creation of this model will benefit water quality enhancement in these priority areas and it will also benefit all of rural Ontario.

      The Government of the Province of Ontario has recognized that understanding environmental functions in rural Ontario cannot take place through an urban model but requires a new focus that will result in more precise information, more strategic stewardship investments and actions to protect water in a rural context. This leading-edge work has not previously taken place and it will now fill a gap in understanding the nearshore water quality of Lake Huron and this better information will make it possible to implement improved strategic actions that protect water quality. The greater understanding of how stormwater moves and is managed in our rural area will be extremely valuable for farmers and other landowners as new information gained from this project will help guide their drainage management efforts to keep soil on the land and the strategic implementation of on-the-ground projects that limit run-off and the effects of water movement during a storm.

      Projected benefits of a more precise rural stormwater management model include:

      • Reduction in stormwater
      • Reduced impacts on lakes and rivers
      • Reduction in risks to health
      • Limiting erosion
      • Reducing flooding

      Components of the project include:

      • Development of specific software for a rural stormwater management model
      • Integration into the model of more precise information such as precipitation, drainage patterns and systems, flow paths, forest cover, land uses, etc.
      • Increased monitoring through five new stations in priority watersheds along the southeast shores of Lake Huron
      • Communication with landowners, public, governments, agencies, engineers, and schools
      • Sharing model when finished for the benefit of others

      Landowners are undertaking stewardship projects that reduce the chances of run-off affecting water bodies – their continued stewardship projects in the five priority watersheds are extremely important for water quality and will continue in parallel with the development of the model. The creation of a rural stormwater management model will provide more precise information to help landowners and agencies invest their stewardship dollars on those projects, and those areas, that will benefit the most and have the greatest positive environmental impact.

      The project will also lead to increased environmental expertise in rural Ontario to be exported throughout the province, the country, and the world.



Website and Document Search
Project featured provincewide
Ontario has released a final report about communities in the province that have developed new water management tools with support of Ontario’s Showcasing Water Innovation program. A project by Ausable Bayfield Conservation and the Healthy Lake Huron: C
Friday, November 27, 2015   [details]

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