Homeowners Saving Lake Simcoe
RAIN motivates homeowners to take action in reducing non-point source pollution entering Ontario's lakes and rivers via storm sewers. If everyone does something small it will add up to a big effect and we might just feel more comfortable swimming at the beach and eating the fish we catch.
Windfall Centre is offering three, hands on spring workshops to help homeowners learn about what they can do to help with local stormwater management and protect Lake Simcoe! Through diversion, control and creative use of rainwater, they can become examples for their neighbours.
Three Easy Tactics
Homeowners are trained on three primary protection solutions that help save Lake Simcoe.
Key Protection Messages
- Capture, storage and slow release of rainwater (cisterns/rainbarrels with soaker hoses)
- Maintain and enhance the urban forest/canopy (tree planting)
- Increase permeable surfaces (permeable paving, soaking pits, rain gardens)
- Design natural areas to maximize infiltration (rain gardens, etc.)
For a free landscape audit, please visit Water For Tomorrow.
For native plants, please visit Native Plant Nurseries.
- Avoid release of pollutants (pet waste, fuels, solvents, fertilizer, road salt)
Here is an informative video about the steps taken to make your own composter!
To learn more, please visit the official RAIN site slowRAIN.ca
Thank you to those who took part in our RAIN workshops. Participants learned what you can do in your own yard to help protect Lake Simcoe and our watershed.
Items discussed: rain barrels, permeable pavement, storm water protection, and rain gardens
1. Mother's Day Rain Garden Planting
Windfall Centre Office, Aurora
Date: Sunday May 13th 2012 11:00am - 2:00pm
2. Prevent Poo-lution: How to Build a Pet Waste Composter
Global Pet Foods, Keswick
Date: Saturday May 26th 2012, 1:00pm
3. Design & Build Your Own Rain Barrel!
Windfall Ecology Festival - Ferry Lake, Newmarket
Date: Saturday June 9th 2012
Storm Water Walking Tour
Windfall Ecology Centre
93A Industrial Parkway South
Date: Saturday July 14th 2012
Each year, there are increasing reports of public beach closures, algal blooms, aquatic weed infestations, and contaminated ground water in and around Lake Simcoe. Ontario and local municipality efforts to protect water quality through regulating water and sewage discharges from industrial and municipal sources have been generally successful. It is, however, now recognized that the major remaining cause of water pollution is from non-point sources.
In 2006, Windfall Ecology Centre published, The Naked Truth: Going Behind the Science of Lake Simcoe. In the report, urban storm water runoff is identified as a leading contributor to phosphorus loading in Lake Simcoe. The largest combined sources of storm water runoff phosphorus loading are two communities situated along the Holland River south of Lake Simcoe—the towns of Newmarket and Aurora.
Non-point sources of water pollution are much more difficult to control, yet a significant percentage of phosphorus and other pollutants arise from everyday practices that are often overlooked. This is not surprising as it is well known that one of the largest sources of pollution to urban rivers is untreated storm water runoff, which contains sediment, cleaning agents, sewage, pesticides, road salts, pet waste, oil and grease. In 1998, the Lake Simcoe urban runoff phosphorus load was calculated to be 21.9 tonnes (LSEMS, 2003).
From 2007 to 2009, Windfall Centre led a stormwater protection project called RainSaver, funded by the Lake Simcoe Clean Up Fund. In this project, Windfall Centre introduced to residents the concept of using a rain barrel to capture run off and reduce phosphorus loading in Lake Simcoe. In this new RAIN project, we are incorporating the lessons learned from RainSaver and are introducing the concepts of rain gardens, permeable pavements, cisterns and other related technologies to capture rain water and reduce phosphorus levels in the watershed.
Low Impact Developments (LID)
Rain capture technologies, also know as low impact developments, reduce the area of impervious surfaces and promote water retention on site to enhance the percolation of water through the soil. Preliminary research conducted by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment indicates that up to 2.7 tonnes per year of phosphorus from existing urban areas could be removed through the use of LID practices (MOE, 2010).
Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE). 2004. Watershed-Based Source Protection Planning. (www.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/water/spp.htm)
Lake Simcoe Environmental Management Strategy (LSEMS). 2003. An Action Guide to Improving the Waters of Lake Simcoe. (www.lsrca.on.ca/PDFs/ actgui.pdf)
EcoJustice. 2009. Flushing out the Truth - Sewage Dumping in Ontario (http://www.ecojustice.ca/publications/flushing-the-truth/attachment).
What can you do to help?
- Install a Rain Barrel
- Build a Rain Garden
- Pick up Pet Waste
- Use Permeable Paving
- Plant Native Trees
If you live in the Lake Simcoe area and would like to participate in Windfall’s Lake Simcoe Storm Water Protection Project, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Toll Free: 1.866.280.4431