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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Lake Huron Coastal Plan Ready for Review

Lake Huron Shoreline | by Megan Johnson  

Draft results are now open for public comment, until October 14th.

Bayshore Broadcasting File Photo. 

A draft Coastal Plan is ready for review through the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation.

Following years of public input, asking what the important threats or values of the shoreline ecosystems are, the results are now open for public comment, until October 14.

Coastal Stewardship Coordinator, Hannah Cann says the Draft Plan is not a regulatory document, adding "we're just making claims for what should occur."

"Our main recommendation across the shoreline is to increase natural wind cover...anything to slow water down, that's coming off the landscape and into our lake and will add to improve our water quality."

She adds, "the land use across our coastal corridor is very developed and there's a lot of agriculture in the southern regions. Through these types of development we've lost a lot of our natural ecosystem cover, and corridors that connect these different ecosystems; so there's less ability for species to move within forest patches or wetland to wetland; so we're having this isolation of species."

Cann says one of the more surprising finding in the report was that 89 percent of respondents said invasive species are the biggest threat to the shoreline which includes Phragmites and Spotted Knapweed.

"Once it impacts an ecosystem it takes over," she says, adding they "also reduce habitat and feeding opportunities".

Knapweed, a pink flower, will reduce the ability of other species to grow there and will out compete natural vegetation.

Cann believes most municipalities along the shoreline count on tourism for their economy, however she was surprised to find it was only rated at 24 percent "under what is most important to you regarding Lake Huron".

"Whereas water quality was rated highest at 95 percent of people," which fell under maintaining water quality for drinking, swimming and enjoying. 

She says the inpute has been able to shape the Coastal Plan and what kind of recommendations the Coastal Centre make for the communities across the shoreline.

Funding for the plan was provided through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Environment Climate Change Canada and the Ministry of Environment and Parks.

Since 2016 the LHCCC have hosted 12 coastal community workshops, welcoming 408 members of the public to learn about aspects of the Coastal Action Plan, and provide their opinion as to what they would like to see for Lake Huron’s shores. Along with these workshops there were  256 respondents participate in the 2018 questionnaire.

 

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