skip to main content

Public Consultation

Public consultation on projects

This is the web page for public consultation by Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA).

Members of the public have participated on steering committees for several strategic plans including the Conservation Strategy, Shoreline Management Plan, Main Bayfield Watershed Plan, and Old Ausable Channel Management Plan, to name a few. 

Citizen involvement helps ensure documents meet the needs of the community and local water, soil, and habitat, and include practical, implementable recommendations and action plans.

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) also invites public comment on projects and policies. Check this page for updates. 

Watershed-Based Resource Management Strategy – Phase 2

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) is developing a new watershed strategy to guide the watershed conservation organization beyond 2023. The document will fulfill the needs of the ABCA and requirements of the Conservation Authorities Act (CA Act). It will build on past strategic documents including the Conservation Strategy and Watershed Strategy (2015-2025).

The Watershed-Based Resource Management Strategy (WBRMS) guides the management and operations of the ABCA. It goes beyond a traditional a watershed planning document. It is also a business plan for the ABCA and informs the five-year budget forecast and yearly budgets as well as identifying opportunities to collaborate with other organizations and engage landowners to achieve the objectives.

The following priorities were identified during Phase 1 of the strategy development:

  1. Protecting life and minimizing property damage from flooding and erosion.
  2.  Improving the health of the watersheds.
  3. Managing land holdings in a responsible and sustainable way.
  4. Protecting sources of drinking water for current and future generations.

At its December 14, 2023 meeting, the ABCA Board of Directors approved focus areas and program areas for public review.

We received written comments until January 31, 2024 as part of this consultation.

Thanks to everyone who took part.

The comment period has now ended.

Ausable Bayfield Conservation looks to future with new watershed strategy
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) invites public to provide input into program areas to guide local conservation 

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) is preparing for the future of local conservation by creating a new watershed strategy. The local conservation organization is looking to the public to provide input into this plan to guide local watershed management.

A new Watershed-Based Resource Management Strategy (WBRMS) will fulfil requirements of the Conservation Authorities Act (CA Act). It will also meet local needs to protect life and property from natural hazards and to manage and protect resources on a watershed basis.

During the first phase of development, earlier in 2023, the public was invited to provide feedback on the ABCA vision and mission, guiding principles and objectives. 

“The feedback was largely positive,” said Kate Monk, ABCA Projects Coordinator. “We are building on the first phase to identify the best way to address the issues, fulfill our responsibilities and serve the community.”
The draft strategy proposes six focus areas for the ABCA: 

  • Protecting life and property from natural hazards of flooding and erosion; 
  • Conservation authority lands and passive recreation;  
  • Research and monitoring; 
  • Outreach and education; 
  • Stewardship, restoration and forestry; and 
  • Drinking water source protection.

These areas comply with the Conservation Authorities Act and enable the ABCA to deliver the programs identified in agreements with the municipalities.

“No single agency has the capacity to do everything,” she said. “We will continue to collaborate with municipalities, citizens and agencies to work towards the goal of a healthy environment for future generations.”

If they have questions, they can contact staff by telephone at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.

Conservation Authorities Act

Subsections 12(4)-(7) of Ontario Regulation 686/21 set out the required components to be included in the WBRMS. Each individual conservation authority can determine the strategy framework and format. 

Required Components 

The regulation states that the Strategy must include: 

  1. Guiding principles and objectives that inform the design and delivery of a Conservation Authority’s mandatory programs and services (s.12(4) paragraph 1). 
  2. A summary of existing technical studies, monitoring programs and other information on the natural resources the authority relies on within its area of jurisdiction or in specific watersheds that directly informs and supports the delivery of the Conservation Authority’s mandatory programs and services (s.12(4) paragraph 2).
  3. A review of the Conservation Authority’s mandatory programs and services for the purposes of determining if they comply with the mandatory programs and services regulation. This includes: an assessment of the effectiveness of the delivery of Category 1 programs; identifying actions and risk mitigation to address identified issues/risks that limit the effectiveness of delivery. A cost estimate for the implementation of those actions must be included (i.e., supporting Category 1, 2 and/or 3 programs to support mandatory program delivery) (s.12(4) paragraph 3, i, ii, iii). The Strategy will include both Category 2 and 3 programs and services provided by the CA, where there is an agreement with municipalities (s.12(5),12(6), 12(7)). 
  4. A process for periodic review and updates to the Strategy by the CA, including procedures to consult with stakeholders and the public during these periodic reviews (s.12(4) paragraph 4).
  5. Consult with stakeholders and the public during the preparation of the Strategy in a manner that the authority considers advisable.
  6. Ensure the Strategy is made publicly available on their websites or by other means the authority considers advisable.