Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

Crops and Creeks Huron

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The Crops and Creeks Huron Page is now located at:

The Huron County Federation of Agriculture (HCFA) and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) were successful, late in 2010, in an application to examine the environmental effectiveness and economic costs and benefits of agricultural best management practices (BMPs).

This project, Crops and Creeks Huron, is one of two watershed-based evaluation projects that the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is helping to fund in Ontario.

Download Crops and Creeks Huron Brochure now.

This study will expand on previous water quality improvement efforts in three watershed areas of the ABCA:

  • The Bayfield North watersheds in the Municipality of Central Huron
  • The Zurich Drain watershed, and;
  • The Ridgeway Drain watershed

(The latter two watersheds are in the Municipality of Bluewater).

Specifically, the purpose of this three-year study is to:

a) Assess the environmental effects of BMPs, and;

b) Estimate private costs and benefits of BMP implementation.

The evaluation project will run until 2013.

Frequently Asked Questions about Crops & Creeks, Huron

The ABCA has been monitoring water quality in the study area.  What purpose does this serve, and what is being found?

Water quality monitoring has been ongoing throughout 2011.  ABCA staff are monitoring water for nutrients, sediment and bacteria.  Monitoring sites in all of the watersheds (including Zurich Drain) have been sampled at least once per month, as well as after any significant rainfall events or snowmelt events.                         

Results at all sites tend to vary depending on regular seasonal changes and extreme weather events. For example, during the snowmelt season or periods of high intensity rainfall results are often higher. This monitoring regime has provided ABCA staff with good data on which to base the state of water quality within these watersheds. There will be continued monitoring throughout 2012. This will help staff to evaluate the effectiveness of the BMPs that have been implemented.

I have been contacted to participate in a survey exercise.  What will the information be used for?

ABCA and OMAFRA staff members have been surveying willing landowners to collect data on farming practices and best management practices that have already been undertaken by these landowners.  Participation in these landowner surveys can be seen in the graphs below.  Staff will continue to contact those landowners who have not yet been approached to complete a survey over the coming months. 

This information will help modelers at the University of Guelph determine the environmental and economic benefits of implementing best management practices. 

Surveys are relatively brief (depending on the size of the farming operation), and landowners will be reimbursed for their time spent on the survey.










What is the data collected being used for?

Cropping information is important to help project partners at the University of Guelph’s Watersheds Evaluation Group (WEG) explain to landowners what water quality might be if landowners did not undertake these practices, or what would be the result if landowners introduced some practices in different parts of the landscape. Dr. Wanhong Yang, Associate Professor of Resource Management, GIS and Spatial Analysis, of WEG, has conducted advanced computer modeling to assess environmental and economic costs and benefits in other parts of the country and will be applying these techniques to this Lake Huron project.

To find out more about Dr. Yang, and his research projects, please visit:

What types of Best Management Practices are being studied?

Landowners in the Crops and Creeks, Huron study area have been proactive with implementing best management practices on their properties.  A number of BMPs have been put into place over the past year, as well as in the recent past.  Projects being implemented with the financial support of the project include: erosion control (berm installation and maintenance in agricultural fields), using cover crops, reducing the amount of nutrients applied to the land, and using various types of conservation tillage (e.g. no-till, turbo-till, and vertical tillage machines). 

How can I become involved?

If you own an agricultural property, and have not yet been contacted by a member of staff to complete a survey, please call the ABCA (519-235-2610) and speak to Abigail Gutteridge to set up an appointment. 

There is still funding available to help landowners implement best management practices within the study area.  Landowners that undertake a nutrient reduction in field application would be reimbursed for any associated yield loss.  Please contact the ABCA for more information.

Opportunities for Funding

Crops & Creeks, Huron has funding opportunities for landowners implementing Best Management Practices on their land within the study area.  However, there are other sources of funding that can also aid landowners as they implement projects.  Agricultural landowners who complete the Ontario Environmental Farm Plan have some funding available to them through the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association.  More Information can be found on the following websites:

In addition to these funding sources, residents of Huron County are also eligible for funding from the Huron Clean Water Project for several different kinds of stewardship projects.  These various funding sources can sometimes be combined to cover most, if not all, of the project cost.  Information concerning the Huron Clean Water Project can be found at:

For more information on project funding, please contact the ABCA.


Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) -

Huron County Federation of Agriculture (HCFA) -

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