In 2015, the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) published its Strategic Plan – Vision 2020. The Plan documents its strategic organizational commitments and builds on its legacy of conservation and watershed managers, while charting a path forward over five years (2015-2020) and beyond. The Strategic Plan was created over two years and involved a comprehensive consultation process with the GRCA Board of Directors, GRCA staff, member municipalities, partners, stakeholders and the public.
Now, more than ever, it is important that the GRCA (and all conservation authorities) continue to offer all of its programs and services that protect the natural environment and ensure the safety of Ontario residents. The GRCA does this by aiming to further the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources within local watersheds using an integrated watershed planning approach. The success of these programs builds upon working partnerships with member municipalities, provincial ministries, local organizations, stakeholders and residents. In November, the GRCA released Vision 2020 – A Review that Illuminates the Future summarizing its accomplishments, and allowing for reflection while determining how to continue this momentum into the future, while at the same time navigating the uncertainty imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the GRCA’s work and accomplishments that are for the betterment of your watershed include:
- Continuing to advance watershed monitoring programming for all scientific disciplines by working towards full implementation of and reporting on the Ganaraska Region Watershed Monitoring Plan, 2014. This work includes conducting climate projections up to the year 2100 using an ensemble model approach.
- Published the Ganaraska Monitoring Report and the Ganaraska Watershed Report Card in 2018 which highlights the important areas of focus for future conservation and protection.
- Undertook various flood management and storm water projects with member municipalities, including the Clarington Flood Risk Assessment, Clarington Flood Damage Reduction Study, and the Cobourg Storm Sewer Capacity Analysis.
- Updated the Lake Ontario Shoreline Management Plan which is to be completed in 2020.
- Updated the Ganaraska Forest Management Plan in 2017 which included a forest recreation component.
- Undertook a Conservation Areas Review in 2016 with implementation actions such as invasive species removal (phragmites and wild parsnip) and forest management in conservation areas.
- Continues to implement actions contained in the GRCA Climate Change Strategy, 2014 while also supporting member municipalities in their climate change initiatives.
- Ongoing implementation support to member municipalities regarding drinking water source protection.
- Continual support to private landowners who want to undertake stewardship and restoration projects through the GRCA Clean Water-Healthy Land Stewardship Program.
- The Ganaraska Forest Centre Outdoor Education Program developed a new partnership with local school boards to offer the Specialized High Skill Major program (SHSM) to secondary school students, and developed Nature Nuts School as a new business area during COVID-19 to meet the needs of the local community.
While the GRCA is proud of the many endeavours it has had over the years, it is important to have the ability to achieve more. The GRCA will continue to explore, learn, lead and evolve while enhancing and conserving across the Ganaraska Region watershed by serving, educating, informing and engaging.
To learn more about your local conservation authority and what they offer to you as a watershed resident, visit www.grca.on.ca and read through the Vision 2020 – A Review that Illuminates the Future located under ‘About Us’.