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Scientific monitoring informs our protection of watershed health as we work towards ensuring the sustainable retention of ecological health and integrity.

Recognizing that improving watershed health also improves our quality of life, Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA) is a leader in the development of watershed plans and the implementation of those plans through ongoing watershed management.

Aerial photo of wetland adjacent to subdivision
Three CLOCA staff standing in stream, wearing hipwaders. Two are holding fish nets in the water, while the third is using an electrofishing device.

Watershed Plans

CLOCA’s watershed plans provide a framework which supports the effective management of watershed resources in response to our changing environment.  The watershed plans that CLOCA developed have been based on the question “what do we need to do to have a healthy watershed?”  To answer this question we examine the environment and human activities within a watershed and assess the relationships between these activities to determine how to best manage the ecosystems of the watershed. This includes examining and exploring historic and existing conditions, as well as future predicted impacts.  Watershed plans include the identification of healthy watershed targets necessary to support healthy, resilient, natural systems and watershed conditions.

Our watershed plans were updated in 2020 to address the significant changes that are occurring within our watershed such as population growth, new infrastructure and climate change.

A large, 32-pound snapping turtle wuth his mouth wide open, sitting in the bottom of an aluminum monitoring boat

Action Plans

Action Plans are developed for specific concerns within the watershed and provide the framework for implementation of on-the-ground monitoring, research, restoration and rehabilitation work.

A CLOCA staff member in the forest, crouched down and examining a small salamander in her palm.

Watershed Monitoring

Monitoring our watershed helps us to understand the impacts of a variety of environmental stressors and guides development, restoration and management efforts.

CLOCA's Integrated Watershed Monitoring Program looks at how our ecosystems and groundwater system and specific indicators within those systems are doing.  To look at these natural systems within our watershed, data is collected in the field by staff, measured by computerized systems, or collected through Global Information System mapping exercises.  

Goals of the Integrated Watershed Monitoring Program:


  • Deliver well-designed, efficient, cost effective monitoring

  • Create a secure, accessible and long-term quality database from which we can conduct meaningful analysis to communicate to stakeholders

  • Guide sustainable and responsible development, management and restoration actions within the CLOCA

The Durham Region Coastal Wetland Monitoring Project

The Durham Region Coastal Wetland Monitoring Project (DRCWMP) is a joint project involving Environment Canada and three conservation authorities: Central Lake Ontario Conservation (CLOCA), Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, and Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority.  Recognizing the importance of wetlands, its goal is to inform conservation actions through the long-term monitoring of Durham Region’s coastal wetlands.  Monitoring of these wetlands began in 2002 and is ongoing.  Of the 18 coastal wetlands monitored through this program, 11 are located within CLOCA’s jurisdiction.

Lynde Creek Marsh with ducks in wetland with sun setting and reflecting in water

Watershed Report Cards

There is a growing awareness that our physical and mental health is connected to the health of our watershed.  In an effort to provide a broader comparison of watershed health for stakeholders across the Ontario, CLOCA participates in Conservation Ontario's Watershed Checkup Program. 


Through this program we produce standardized watershed report cards according to Conservation Ontario's guidelines.  Data collected through our Integrated Watershed Monitoring Program is used allowing each report card to provide a snapshot of forest health, surface water and groundwater quality.  To date we have published three report cards: 2018, 2013 and 2007.

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