Bay of Quinte Restoration Council

Bay of Quinte.

Photo: © Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Other Project Contributors: Department of National Defence (Canadian Forces Base Trenton), Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Lower Trent Conservation Authority, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Quinte Conservation.

The community partnership responsible for the cleanup and restoration of the Bay of Quinte is undertaking a comprehensive effort to reduce phosphorus runoff into the bay - a move that could see the area officially delisted as an Area of Concern by 2020.

The Bay of Quinte is a picturesque narrow inlet on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Its shoreline, running nearly 100 kilometers from Trenton to Bath, includes 19 provincially significant wetlands. At more than 18,000 kilometers2, the bay's watershed is the largest in southern Ontario, and includes the primarily agricultural lands of Prince Edward County along its south shoreline.

In 1997, the Bay of Quinte Restoration Council was established to coordinate the implementation of the measures identified in the Remedial Action Plan. The Council is also monitoring environmental progress, with the goal of removing the Bay of Quinte from the list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern.

The Restoration Council includes representatives from the federal, provincial and local governments, as well as conservation authorities and the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. Annual funding from the partners supports the implementation of specific remediation measures. A Remedial Action Plan coordinator and technical staff assist Council members with implementation efforts and coordinate public outreach and communication activities.

The Council has overseen the steady improvement in the health of the Bay of Quinte. Originally, the Remedial Action Plan identified 11 important environmental concerns facing the bay. Today, only one outstanding environmental challenge remains: an excess of nutrients, particularly phosphorous, flowing into the bay’s waters. These nutrients, from stormwater outfalls, sewage treatment plants, septic tanks and agricultural fields, contribute to outbreaks of algae throughout the summer and fall. Reducing the frequency of these algae blooms is the final major step to delisting the Area of Concern by 2020.

To address this challenge, the Council is developing a Phosphorous Reduction Strategy. The strategy includes measures for rural and urban land uses, as well as municipal stormwater management. These measures are designed to reduce the risk of harmful algae blooms while maintaining the sustainable fisheries in the bay. The strategy is using an “adaptive management” approach - a process of continual improvement, with regular monitoring of progress and the revision of plans to incorporate new information and advances in best management practices, science and technology.

Finally, the Restoration Council undertakes a range of communication and outreach activities to ensure that community residents are aware of the cleanup and restoration initiatives in the bay and that they have an opportunity to review and provide input on key proposals. For example, Remedial Action Plan staff and Council members have:

  • participated in community events such as the Quinte Children’s Water Festival and the Trenton Woodlot Conference;
  • made presentations to community and school groups;
  • prepared videos on specific environmental challenges in the Bay of Quinte; and,
  • conducted radio advertising campaigns to help build awareness of specific initiatives on habitat enhancement, community wildlife monitoring and septic system management. 

For more information on the Bay of Quinte Area of Concern, please visit: Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan.

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