Integrated Watershed Management
Integrated watershed management (IWM) is the process of managing human activities and natural resources on a
watershed basis, taking into account social, economic and environmental issues, as well as local community interests and issues such as the impacts of growth and climate change.
Cross-Section of a Watershed
IWM allows conservation authorities and municipalities to sustainably manage our water resources in complex and sometimes uncertain environments. By taking an IWM approach, we can develop plans that support:
- improved water quality and quantity
- flood and erosion management
- biodiversity and resilient habitats
- sustainable economic and recreation opportunities
- improved quality of life and communities
- greater ability for the watershed to adapt to the impacts of climate change, urbanization and other stressors
IWM is put into action through an IWM Planning Process.
Integrated Watershed Management Planning Process
A new IWM Plan for the Nottawasaga Valley
NVCA, in partnership with our
watershed municipalities and the counties of Grey, Simcoe and Dufferin, and with funding from the
Federation of Canadian Municipalities Municipal Climate Implementation Fund, is in the process of developing a new IWM plan for the Nottawasaga Valley.
most recent Watershed Management Plan was developed in 1996. Ten years later, we conducted a strategic review of the plan to address issues that had arisen since the plan was completed. With increasing growth pressures and a
changing climate, along with direction from the Province for planning and development to take an IWM approach, the time is right for an update.
We've contracted Ecosystem Recovery, an engineering and geosciences consultancy, to guide the IWM plan development throughout 2018-19. The studies and reports from this process will be made available as they are completed.
Step One - Get to Know the Watershed
Starting in the winter of 2018, we are taking a close look at our local environment by undertaking a "Watershed Characterization Study." This first step in the IWM planning process involves collecting and analyzing large amounts of data about the watershed, including details on:
- water quality and quantity
- aquatic and terrestrial environments
- flood and erosion hazards
- economic and recreational land uses
- ecological assets
- climate and the effects of climate change
Watershed Characterization Report (pdf - 43 MB) - This detailed analysis looks to capture a current snapshot of the Nottawasaga Valley watershed.
It provides an overview of the status of environmental, ecological and economic elements in the watershed, including some focus on related community services. Change drivers such as population growth and climate change are discussed, as are the benefits derived from
Step Two - Identify Watershed Issues, Opportunities and Constraints
In step two of the IWM planning process, we will identify the issues, opportunities and constraints facing the watershed. Working with municipalities, indigenous communities and sector stakeholders, with opportunity for input from interested members of the public, we'll explore issues specific to the Nottawasaga Valley watershed. These issues may include:
- climate change - including risks of increased extreme weather and flooding, unpredictable weather patterns,
changing ecosystems, invasive species, etc.
- land use changes - growth and development, use of resources, etc.
- tourism and recreational uses of environmental features
Stakeholder Meeting 1 - Presentation (pdf - 6 MB) - This presentation was given at the first IWMP stakeholder meeting held July 26, 2018. Included in the presentation are an overview of the NVCA, a summary of the Watershed Characterization Report, and the questions posed to those attending the meeting to gather information regarding watershed issues and stressors.
Step Three - Develop Strategies and Plan
In the final step of developing the IWM plan, we will look to craft solutions or adaptive strategies to address watershed issues. Again, this will be done in concert with municipalities, indigenous communities and stakeholders, with input from the public.
Once it is drafted, the plan will be reviewed and considered for approval by the NVCA board of directors. Pending approval, the final plan will be circulated to municipalities, counties and others for incorporation into their planning decisions (steps four and five of the IWM planning process).
Stakeholder Meeting 2 - Presentation
(pdf - 2 MB) - This short presentation was given at the second IWMP stakeholder meeting held Oct 18, 2018. Included in the presentation are an overview of NVCA's IWMP process, a draft vision for the IWMP, a very brief overview of the vision and watershed characterization study, and then detail on how the group would work through the initial stages of developing strategies to respond to identified issued.
NVCA - IWMP Overview of Existing Issues (pdf - 650kb) - This document summarizes the watershed issues identified through the Watershed Characterization Report (above). It then outlines how stakeholders, the technical study team and NVCA staff developed strategies in response to these issues. These initial strategies will form the basis for the list of recommended strategies being developed for the final IWMP report. Note that the appendices from this report are available upon request to NVCA. Nottawasga Valley IWMP 2019 (pdf - 8.8 MB) - Developed over an 18-month period, the IWMP will guide efforts to maintain and enhance the watershed’s natural heritage resources. The plan was approved by the NVCA's board of directors at their June 2019 meeting.
Sector & Public Input
Talking to other groups and gathering their input is an important part of the IWM planning process. Municipalities, counties and indigenous communities were invited to engage in the process. Key stakeholders from a variety of sectors including, but not limited to, agriculture, development, environment and business are being consulted throughout the process.
Questions about the IWM plan and process should be directed to
Chris Hibberd, Director of Watershed Management Services.