Ontario Conservation Authorities and climate change adaptation in the Lake Simcoe Watershed

Ontario Conservation Authorities (CAs) are 36 watershed-based partnerships between municipalities and the Province with legislative authority “to undertake watershed-based programs to protect people and property from flooding, and other natural hazards, and to conserve natural resources for economic, social and environmental benefits.” CAs were originally formed to foster greater cooperation and collaboration among the various groups involved in water management, and now play a key role in building resilience to water-related risks. For instance, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) was one of the partners involved in a multi-partner pilot project to develop a climate change adaptation strategy for the Lake Simcoe Watershed in Ontario. With other partners, the LSRCA identified current and future climate change vulnerabilities, such as the drying of wetlands and spread of aquatic invasive species, using future scenarios of climate and non-climate stressors. The LSRCA is currently engaged in updating and improving the adaptation plan for the Lake Simcoe Watershed. In the meantime, it is building resilience to climate change impacts primarily through promoting low-impact development projects such as natural infrastructure, and through implementing a new Phosphorus Offsetting Policy.

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