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2013 Watershed Report Cards
The St. Clair Region Conservation Authority (SCRCA) has prepared Watershed Report Cards to help watershed residents, agency staff and directors measure environmental health in the region. These cards assess and grade surface water quality and forest condition in 14 watersheds, and compare them with previous Report Card findings.
Each Report Card also includes a summary of watershed features, local solutions that will improve environmental conditions, and highlights of progress since 2005.
Since the first Report Cards were produced in 2008, many environmental projects have been implemented, new issues have developed, and more information has become available. The 2013 Report Cards use the guidelines and updated grading system recommended by Conservation Ontario (Conservation Ontario, 2011). Surface water quality indicators include Total Phosphorus, benthic invertebrates, and bacteria (E. coli). Forest condition indicators include the percent forest cover, percent forest interior, and the percent of the riparian zone that is forested. The 2011 guidelines are more stringent to provide province-wide standards and result in generally lower grades in the St. Clair Region and in most of southwestern Ontario, compared with previous grading systems.
The 2013 Report Cards include examples of projects contributing to improved environmental health. Highlights of these positive contributions include stewardship projects by individuals, groups and municipalities. Since 2005, private landowners have completed over 120 stewardship projects, community-based groups have implemented projects in each watershed, and over 220,000 trees and shrubs have been planted by SCRCA staff.
The St. Clair Region hosts an unusual mosaic of farmland and forests, urban areas, industrialization and natural areas. This mosaic has low Report Card scores that reflect our urban, agricultural and industrial activities but the natural biological diversity is extraordinary nonetheless. Residents, agencies and municipalities must act to protect and improve this region of Canada which is “uniquely St. Clair”.
Download the 2013 Watershed Report Cards (pdf format)