The Lake Simcoe Watershed covers 3,576 square kilometres of land and water including the 722 square kilometres of Lake Simcoe which is part of the Trent-Severn Waterway (EC, LSRCA). There are 4,225 kilometres of rivers, creeks, streams, and tributaries divided into 18 separate subwatersheds (LSCRA). There are 35 rivers in total that empty into the lake and wetlands cover 13% of the watershed (EC, LSRCA)
There are several regions and municipalities within this watershed. The Towns of Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, Newmarket, and Whitechurch-Stouffville and Township of King in York Region, the Towns of Bradford West Gwillimbury, Innisfil, New Tecumseth, Townships of Oro-Medonte and Ramara in Simcoe County, as well as the Cities of Barrie and Orillia, the Townships of Brock, Scugog, and Uxbridge in Durham Region, the City of Kawartha Lakes, and the Town of Caledon in Peel Region are all included in the watershed to some degree. Certain municipalities lie fully within the borders and others are only partly represented.
The area hosts a permanent population of above 400,000 (LSRCA). The landscape is changing as the population grows and the towns are developing to service their needs. Its location close to Toronto has caused the towns in the southern areas to become bedroom communities for the city. Presently, 8% of the watershed is urban land and 36% is agricultural land (LSRCA). All aspects of Ontario agriculture are represented within this watershed. The Holland Marsh, located in the southwest, is known as the salad bowl of Ontario. It was designated a Specialty Crop Area in 2005 and is protected from urban expansion and non-agricultural uses. Recreational activities, predominately fishing, and tourism centred around the lake contribute $200 million to the local economy each year (EC). This watershed has an evolving landscape and must contend with increasing development.
- Environment Canada. (2014, September 5). Lake Simcoe/South-eastern Georgian Bay Clean-Up Fund (LSGBCUF). In Environment Canada - Water - Lake Simcoe Clean-Up Fund. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water/default.asp?lang=En&n=85C54DAE-1
- Lake Simcoe Regional Conservation Authority. (n.d.). Our Watershed. In The Lake Simcoe Watershed. Retrieved September 22, 2014, from http://www.lsrca.on.ca/about/watershed.php
- Planscape. (2009). Holland Marsh Agricultural Impact Study (p. 10). Ontario, Canada: Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation & Holland Marsh Growers’ Association.