North Bayfield Sub-Watershed

North Bayfield Shoreline
North Bayfield Shoreline

Crops and Creeks Huron measures effectiveness of best management practices

More than 30 landowners in three watersheds, are participating in a soil health and water quality project called Crops and Creeks Huron.

As part of the project, they completed surveys and provided land management information for more than 70 per cent of the study area and are choosing and implementing more than 30 best management practices (BMPs) on their lands. Their work is helping to measure the economic and environmental effectiveness of best management practices to preserve soil health and water quality.

Rachel and Dwayne Feddes and their children, Ethan, Aaron and Drew, along with Dwayne’s father, Al, are shown at the family farm near Holmesville. More than 30 farmers are taking part in Crops and Creeks Huron, a Watershed-Based Best Management Practices Evaluation research project to see how effective best management practices are for the farm business and the environment. Dwayne and Al describe the changes they are making as "long-term investments" to keep their land sustainable.

The Huron County Federation of Agriculture has partnered with Ausable Bayfield Conservation and others on this watershed-based best management practices evaluation project since January 2011.

The work is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Rural Affairs through the Canada - Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Ecosystem.

The University of Guelph’s Watersheds Evaluation Group has also set up and run a model Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to determine the cumulative effectiveness of the four studied BMPs in the Bayfield North (North Gullies) watershed, which includes Gully Creek.

This watershed north of Bayfield is one of five priority areas identified by the Healthy Lake Huron initiative. Water quality and soil monitoring is being carried out as part of this project to evaluate berms, conservation tillage, cover crops, and fertilizer nutrient reductions.

The project research is still in its early stages but monitoring the BMPs has already yielded positive preliminary results. One project demonstrated a reduction of sediment and nutrients on a strategically located 5x5-metre grassed area at the edge of a field. Another confirmed that berms decreased the amount of sediment between an inflow channel and the settling area behind the berm, slowing down the water that moves over the land and preventing sediment from entering surface water. Other studies showed that cover crops and conservation tillage also reduce erosion.

The Crops and Creeks Huron initiative will continue to build on previous actions the Bayfield North, Zurich Drain, and Ridgeway Drain watershed communities have taken to identify and implement BMPs to protect and improve water quality in local waterways that flow into Lake Huron.

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North Bayfield Shoreline
North Bayfield Shoreline

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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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