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Resources |  Water Quality

"Impairments of nearshore water quality along portions of southeastern Lake Huron have been a major public concern in recent years. Beach postings and algae fouling have been frequent observations, and local media attention to the issue has raised the level of concern." 

Lake Huron's Nearshore Water Quality Report - A preliminary report on historical nearshore water quality information for southeastern Lake Huron: Sauble Beach to Sarnia - for Environment Canada by the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation (2003).


The development of Intensive Livestock Operations near the lakeshore has heightened the level of concern in Saugeen Shores, Kincardine, Huron-Kinloss, Goderich, Grand Bend, and Sarnia. Concerned citizen groups have evolved in response to concerns that these types of intensive operations may be responsible for some of these impairments, and so there is an increased sensitivity about beach postings and algae fouling.

Nearshore water quality (e.g. lake water conditions generally regarded from the beach to a depth of 6 metres) is a complex issue which is partly impacted by land runoff, lake wave action and lake longshore currents. These 3 factors combined result in the water quality conditions of the nearshore lake waters. In urban areas, stormwater runoff and wastewater treatment discharge are the major contributors. In rural areas, septic systems, farm field runoff (e.g. nutrient laden runoff) and livestock operations (e.g. manure handling systems, manure spread of fields) are major contributors to nearshore water quality. The better the management systems, the better the water quality. More intense and more frequent storm and rainfall events create challenges to these systems and commonly result in negative water quality. Climate-ready adaptations and improved urban and rural water quality runoff will have significant positive impacts to nearshore water quality. These goals are something we all need to strive toward. 

E. Coli: A Permanent Resident of Our Beaches?

Nonpoint Source Pollution

Algae and Water Quality

Birds Beached by Botulism

Water Quality Factsheets

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