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Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN be used as an indicator of whether or not the recommendations provided in the Watershed Plan have maintained and/or improved the physical and chemical characteristics of water quality in the watershed. On-going classification of vegetative communities using standardized protocols (Ecological Land Classification). These habitat areas are recorded as Geographic Information System layers and are updated bi-annually to evaluate changes in community composition, habitat size and fragmentation. Biological life assessments (qualitative and quantitative) such as insects/pollinators, fish and birds. A compilation of the number and location of BMPs implemented in the watershed. This will also include pollutant loading reduction measurements. This information will be housed in a restoration database and updated as projects are completed. Watershed landowners should also be surveyed (at least every 5 years prior to the Watershed Plan review) to help watershed planners and the restoration team identify new watershed issues, and evaluate changes in knowledge and behaviour. Land use and land use change in the watershed will also be evaluated. One option of evaluation methodology is by using the Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution (AGNPS) model. AGNPS is a computer model that is used for evaluating the effect of management decisions impacting a watershed system, such as predicting nonpoint source pollutant loadings within agricultural watersheds. For example, AGNPS can simulate the effects of various management practices on pollution in the watershed. The model can predict where runoff from rain, snowmelt, or irrigation may carry pesticides, fertilizers, or sediment throughout a watershed. It is recommended that the AGNPS model be executed for the Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan study area to assist the Implementation Committee in identifying „hot spots‟ in the watershed and therefore priority areas for remediation or restoration. In addition, the AGNPS model can be used to evaluate the success of restoration measures in subsequent years after the Watershed Plan has been implemented by reevaluating pollutant loadings in the watershed. The overall objectives of the Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan monitoring program are to: continually evaluate and amend the watershed plan whenever necessary to reflect changing environmental, economic, technical, or social trends; continually assess the overall health and water quality of watercourses; improve the AGNPS model calibration; and gauge the success of the restoration action plans in protecting and improving water quality and aquatic health. 240

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN Conclusion The Lake Erie North Shore watershed supports a unique environmental character and subsequent set of watershed issues. Contributing to the distinctiveness of this watershed are, for example, sand dunes that line the shoreline, diversity of natural heritage features, the Onondaga Escarpment features, the wealth of endangered and threatened species, and the abundance of recreational opportunities that are abound throughout the study area. A wide-ranging set of watershed issues have been gathered resulting in a set of watershed objectives that includes water resources, fish and aquatic habitat, natural heritage and resources, urban development, and communication and education. The watershed objectives have formed the basis of restoration strategies at the watershed level for riparian, wetland and upland habitat that have been derived from detailed restoration suitability mapping. In addition, project opportunities on private and public lands have been identified such as erosion control and upland forest restoration to create ecological linkages between existing forested areas. Special studies, including policy tools, education programs and tax incentive programs have also been proposed. The implementation plan identifies responsible stakeholders for each recommended management action. The recommended management actions have been organized to include riparian, wetland and upland and ecological linkages; to enhance water quality, fish habitat and recreation; specific policy tools including municipal and regional official plan amendments; outreach and communication for various aspects of water resources management; and research and monitoring programs to obtain additional data from which the Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan can be updated and revised every 5 years. The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority will oversee the implementation of the Lake Erie North Shore watershed strategy and recommendations made in this report with the assistance of the Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan Implementation Committee, which is comprised of public interest groups, watershed municipalities, agencies and landowners. Watershed plan progress will be communicated annually by means of a qualitative report card that details progress in the watershed. As indicated earlier, implementation of the Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan should be integrated into planning initiatives and roles of regulation by all levels of government. Land use changes in the Lake Erie North Shore watershed should also consider recommendations put forth by the Watershed Plan and supporting studies and documents where appropriate. The NPCA and the Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan Implementation Committee will also work with Lake Erie managers to identify restoration actions that are supportive of the Lake Erie Binational Nutrient Strategy. Implementation of such actions will benefit both the watershed and the lake. Together the watershed strategy and recommended management actions aim to contribute to supporting healthy natural areas, farms, watercourses, and habitat for a diversity of flora and fauna. Through this plan, the preservation, conservation and restoration of the watershed‟s ecosystem will protect society‟s resource needs by sustaining the ecological processes that naturally protect air, water and land resources. All of this will be achieved through environmental stewardship that fosters a collaborative approach to conservation that respects landowners while providing exciting opportunities for education and recreation for all citizens in the Lake Erie North Shore watershed. 241

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