Main Bayfield Sub-Watershed

Bayfield Harbour
Bayfield Harbour

Bayfield residents working to protect watershed

The people who live around the Bayfield River and nearby creeks have been active over the past year in work to protect and enhance water quality and quantity and forest conditions.

Local citizens are serving on an advisory committee of landowners, stakeholders and government staff to prepare and implement a plan to protect the Main Bayfield watershed. This watershed is one of five areas identified as top priorities by the Healthy Lake Huron partnership.

The local advisory committee’s main goal is to improve water quality and quantity within the Bayfield River by reducing total phosphorus, E. coli and total suspended solids concentrations in local waterways while increasing wetlands and both forest and streamside cover.

They will also reach out to local organizations and landowners for input on how to make these improvements happen.

The committee has also compiled a list of community groups that might help improve water quality in the watershed.

More than 25 per cent of those groups have committed to specific actions they will take to protect and improve water quality.

That includes projects such as planting trees, maintaining buffers along watercourses and upgrading septic and wastewater systems.

The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, a U.S. foundation dedicated to nurturing environmentally healthy and culturally vibrant communities in metropolitan Detroit and supporting initiatives to restore the Great Lakes Basin, provided Ausable Bayfield Conservation with $100,000 for the work that is being done with landowners to help restore wetlands and to prepare a local watershed plan between 2011 and 2013.

Local residents are protecting water quality and quantity, and improving forest conditions, by tackling beneficial projects at their homes, cottages, farms, and businesses.

They are also active supporting water quality monitoring and attending meetings to learn more and raise awareness.

The advisory committee is engaging citizens by conducting surveys with landowners, making water quality data easier to understand and providing information on grants and technical help that can be found for proposed projects.

The committee also created a watershed plan to involve the local community, show how the plan was created, and how concerns specific to this watershed can be addressed.

Outreach activities in recent months have focused on meetings with local groups, agencies, and organizations.

At one event held at the Clinton Christian Reformed Church, guest speakers included Humanitarian Engineering and Certified Water Specialist Jonathan VanderSteen, Ph.D., and watershed planner Jessica Schnaithmann of Ausable Bayfield Conservation.

Dr. VanderSteen, who had spent several months in Ghana examining the need for reliable drinking water solutions, shared thoughts about his experiences and how relief efforts must provide long-term solutions, not short-term fixes.

He emphasized that active involvement in the local area is a critical step towards improving water quality — locally and globally.

That message reinforced the importance of community efforts to develop and implement a plan and projects to protect and improve water quality in Bayfield River, its tributaries, and Lake Huron, now and in the future.

Pictures
Bayfield Harbour
Bayfield Harbour
Bayfield Harbour
Bayfield Harbour

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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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