More work needed to improve watershed conditions: report card 

By Roderick Benns

The second Kawartha Conservation Watershed report card has revealed there is little change in the average quality of the watershed’s water, forest natural resources and wetlands compared with the first report card in 2013.

The 2018 report card, released today, reveals while approximately 20 percent of the watersheds have shown improvement, the majority remain consistent with the first report, indicating some watersheds are continuing to experience stressed conditions in the water and forest natural resources.

“Overall, there has been improvement to about 20 percent of the sub watersheds in our jurisdiction, with the remaining sub watersheds remaining unchanged from five years ago,” said Kawartha Conservation CAO Mark Majchrowski.

“Looking closely at the data reveals that the northern portions of the watershed have the best water quality and forest cover, while sub watersheds more central and south – closer to urbanization and development – have greater challenges.”

The 2018 Watershed Report Card average grade for water quality in the Kawartha watershed is C or Fair. Forest cover remained the same as in 2013, receiving an average grade of C while Wetland cover also remained the same as 2013, receiving an average grade of A across the entire jurisdiction.

Groundwater remained unchanged from 2013, receiving an average grade of B across all the wells that are monitored in the Kawartha watershed.

“The good news for our watershed and our member municipalities is that our lakes, rivers, streams, forests and wetlands have not experienced significant decline since the first report card in 2013. Our programs and stewardship efforts have been effective in maintaining the quality of our watershed,” says Majchrowski.

“It is clear however, we need to do more to begin improving the overall quality of our watershed as we work to address with the impacts of urbanization and climate change.”

Using a variety of methods, including provincial monitoring networks, Kawartha Conservation monitors and reports on four resource categories: surface water quality, forest conditions, wetlands and groundwater quality.

Conservation Authorities across the Province work in many local, provincial and federal partnerships with governments, other agencies, landowners and residents to plan and deliver watershed management programs that strive to keep Ontario’s watersheds healthy.

You can access report cards from across the province and find more information about the watershed report cards here. As well, a story map has been developed to show more detailed information about conditions across the province.

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