Ontario’s Conservation Authorities monitor the health of natural resources in their watersheds. This helps us to provide a better understanding of local environmental issues, focus conservation efforts where they are needed most, and track changes over time.
Conservation Authority Watershed Report Cards provide a regular checkup on a number of key resources on which we depend. They track and report on surface water and groundwater quality as well as forest conditions. Conservation Authorities across the province produce these report cards every five years.
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has produced 11 new report cards in 2018: one for each of our nine watersheds, one for the Lake Ontario waterfront, and one for our entire region, which extends from Etobicoke Creek in the west to Carruthers Creek in the east.
What is a Watershed?
A watershed is the area of land that catches rain and snow and drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake or groundwater. Watersheds are the collectors, filters, conveyers and storage compartments of our fresh water supply.
Wherever you are in the Toronto region right now, you are sitting on a watershed. Use this map to find out which one.
VIEW THE REPORT CARDS
What Did We Learn?
» Generally, concentrations of nitrates are better than the drinking water guidelines in most wells across the TRCA jurisdiction.
» About 60% of the groundwater monitoring wells in the TRCA jurisdiction received an ‘A’ grade for chloride.
SURFACE WATER QUALITY
» Overall, the TRCA watersheds received a ‘D’ grade. The grade did not change from the previous report card in 2013. Stormwater runoff and lack of improvement to stormwater management are the main cause of the poor grade.
» Chloride concentrations are not included in the grade, but increasing chloride concentrations in streams are an issue across the Toronto region. About 60% of samples collected had a concentration greater than the federal guideline. The chloride found in streams is typically from road salt, and elevated concentrations can harm aquatic life.
» Overall, TRCA watersheds received a ‘D’ grade for forest conditions. The grade did not change from the previous report card in 2013.
» Duffins Creek had the highest percentage of forest cover at 27% while Mimico Creek had the lowest percentage of forest cover at 2%.
» The TRCA jurisdiction is 52% urban, 23% rural, and 25% natural cover and the amount of urban area continues to increase.