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Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

Main Bayfield Community Watershed Plan

The Main Bayfield Community Watershed Plan

For copy of the draft Main Bayfield Community Watershed Plan please click on Publications and Downloads and go to Plans.

Download the community's plan, developed by the steering committee for release on October 6, 2013, now:

Main Bayfield Watershed Plan - This is a 3 MB (very large) PDF file.

Download January 2014 Newsletter for Main Bayfield watershed:

Main Bayfield Watershed Plan Newsletter January 2014

Report Card for Main Bayfield please see:

Main Bayfield Watershed Report Card 2013

For Ausable Bayfield Watershed Report Card visit:

Watch this video about the Main Bayfield River Watershed, courtesy of the Rural Stormwater Management Model Project:

Main Bayfield Watershed Video

Download Bayfield Beach Stormwater Monitoring Report 2015 now.

Help us to enact the watershed plan for the  Main Bayfield River Watershed and Trick's Creek Watershed

A watershed is… an area of land that drains to a common waterway, such as a stream, wetland, or lake.

The water in our watershed drains to Lake Huron.

A watershed plan is … a list of actions that will help us better manage our water and related resources, such as soil and fish. It also includes a description of land use, geology, and water quality. The plan is created by the local community and local agencies to protect and enhance the local environment.

Watershed planning has been found to be a cost-effective and practical way to manage local water. It looks at natural boundaries where it is easier to see cause-and-effect relationships.

Main Bayfield River watershed Drainage Area:

• 92 square kilometres


• Bluewater

• Huron East

• Central Huron Tributaries:

• Wise Drain

• Trick’s Creek

• Middleton’s Creek

• Wiltse Creek:

• Dowson-Keys D.W.

• Brandt Creek

  A watershed plan is a continuous process of:

• Collecting information to identify the issues and problems;

• Using this information to protect and promote the long-term health of the local environment;

• Identifying actions that need to be taken by agencies and landowners living and working within the watershed;

• Setting up a process to evaluate the actions.

Why do we need a watershed plan?

Everything is connected to everything else. Erosion upstream affects the quality of water downstream. Long-term problems can develop that are costly and difficult to deal with in the future. To avoid these problems, we need to take preventive actions now. We can protect water more efficiently if we manage watersheds as whole systems. By using a watershed approach to manage our resources, we can identify harmful impacts on the local environment. We can take steps to address challenges in both the short term and long term. A watershed plan can prevent future water shortages and poor water quality.

Early findings

1) We get a B grade for overall tree cover and forest conditions in the watershed. However, tree cover is mainly concentrated along the river, while the headwater areas have very low tree cover. For overall surface water quality we get a C grade in the watershed. This signifies improvements need to be made.

2) Tourism is important to our local economy. Swimming, boating and fishing bring many people into the area.

Our current Scorecard:

Forest Conditions             B

Surface Water Quality      C

These are the grades from the 2007 Watershed Report Card for the Main Bayfield River watershed. See the 2013 Watershed Report Card for the latest results by clicking on link at top of home page.

We assembled this report card through a process developed for Conservation Authorities in Ontario Watershed Report Cards were completed for 16 sub-watersheds in the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) area. Nutrient, sediment and bacterial pollution can limit the options we have for recreational activities along the Bayfield River and the shores of Lake Huron. This is similar to many areas within Canada and the United Stated. In fact the United States lists a number of water bodies as impaired. (

What is being done?

Our watershed is one of the five areas where federal and provincial agencies are piloting projects to improve water quality along the southeast shores of Lake Huron

Step 1. Current watershed information is being reviewed and summarized.

Step 2. A committee of landowners and other stakeholders has been established to guide the watershed planning process.

Step 3. A landowner survey has been created to gather land use and environmental improvement information to supplement the monitoring data and assist in creating better recommendations. The information gathered as part of these surveys will be used in our watershed description.

Step 4. Help to link landowners with technical and financial assistance to carry out environmental improvement projects. Early community watershed objectives

Community Goal

Improve the water quality within Lake Huron, the Bayfield River and all tributaries. The goal is to reduce Total Phosphorus and Escherichia coli (E. coli) concentrations and to increase forest cover, wetlands and streamside cover.

First Objective

Make land improvements to meet Watershed Report Card objectives. Data collected from the Main Bayfield Watershed gave values for forest conditions and surface water quality. These values are a starting point to measure improvements.

Second Objective

Within the next three years the advisory committee would like to complete twenty-five environmental improvement projects, within the Main Bayfield River watershed.

Tell us what actions you believe are most needed now for your watershed. Please contact your neighbours who are a part of the Advisory Committee or contact Ausable Bayfield Conservation.

The Main Bayfield Watershed Plan has been made possible by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation

The Main Bayfield Advisory Committee has completed the Main Bayfield Watershed Plan, after almost two years of work by the community.

The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, a U.S. foundation dedicated to nurturing environmentally healthy and culturally vibrant communities in metropolitan Detroit and supporting initiatives to restore the Great Lakes Basin, provided Ausable Bayfield Conservation with $100,000 for its work with landowners to conduct community-based planning at the local watershed scale, and other work to improve water quality between 2011 and 2013. The project has involved the community of the Main Bayfield River Watershed which includes Trick’s Creek Watershed.