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Essex Region Conservation Authority. Brad Arsenault & Kaylyn Boyd. History. Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) Established in 1973 19 different conservation and recreation areas. Conservation Authority Supporters. Board of directors is made up of over 20 people

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Essex region conservation authority

Essex Region Conservation Authority

Brad Arsenault & Kaylyn Boyd


  • Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA)

  • Established in 1973

  • 19 different conservation and recreation areas

Conservation authority supporters
Conservation Authority Supporters

  • Board of directors is made up of over 20 people

  • Meetings are often and invite volunteers

  • Essex Region Conservation Foundation

Authority goals
Authority Goals

  • “To provide locally based leadership in creating a sustainable environment for the residents of the Essex region.”

  • ERCA is responsible for monitoring stream flow, lake and river water levels and ice conditions within the watershed, assessing soil saturation levels, and spreading flood warnings to local municipalities and agencies.

Essex area
Essex Area

  • Surrounding lakes and rivers include: Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, and Lake Erie

  • ERCA manages nearly 4000 acres of land and protects 100 km of trail

  • Home to woodlands, marshes, and prairie environments found in very few other Canadian settings.

  • Tourist and recreational attractions, which contribute to the economy

Urban area
Urban Area

  • Urban and industrialized area

  • The total population is approximately 374 975, Windsor is the largest city in this population

Beginning conditions
Beginning Conditions

  • 90% of original wetlands in the region have been destroyed, most of this now accommodates agriculture and urbanization

  • Flood risks

  • Low forest cover

  • Algal blooms were a severe problem in Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie.


  • Planted over five million trees

  • Over the past thirty years, ERCA has protected, enhanced, and restored over 8 kilometers of shoreline in the City of Windsor, particularly along the stretch of Windsor Riverfront Parks.

  • There have been many major flood controls implemented through out the conservation area including improvements and repairs for flood prone areas and the sewage treatment plant.

  • Dykes have been built in some areas where there is opportunity for major damage due to waves and flooding.

More efforts
More Efforts

  • Reduced phosphorus loading into the lakes by 60%. There are still issues with algal blooms, as it exceeds the USEPA recommended levels.

Current conditions
Current conditions

  • Presently in the Essex Region, only 7.5% of the earth’s landscape remains in its natural state.

  • Less risk of flooding

  • All watersheds exceed the provincial limit of phosphorus, remaining constant over the years, with one outstanding

  • Nitrate levels remain high in all sites

  • Nitrate and phosphorus trends have been very similar

Current conditions1
Current Conditions

  • The Essex region has significantly higher E. Coli levels than other beaches on Lake Erie

  • E. Coli levels show a strong correlation with rainfall amounts. This suggests connections to agricultural land or private wells.

Financial budget
Financial Budget

  • Provincial Government contributes approx 25% of total funds, which is 9.8 million, for the conservation region

  • Natural areas land acquisition accounts for 22% of total expenses

  • Protected natural areas and enhance biodiversity 20%

  • Flood and erosion protection 19%

Community involvement
Community Involvement

  • Community education

  • Friends of Watersheds program

  • Help individuals with major tree planting efforts

Case study sturgeon creek
Case Study: Sturgeon Creek

  • Andrew Murray O’Neil Memorial Woods

  • Urbanization, agriculture, and tourist attractions all close to shoreline

  • Sturgeon Creek has very high amounts of phosphorus present, which went from 2-3mg/L to 8-9mg/L.

  • Sturgeon Creek has 12 times the legal guideline of Nitrate.

Case study sturgeon creek1
Case Study: Sturgeon Creek

  • Most of these contaminants are entering Lake Erie by run off

  • Efforts being focused on increasing riparian buffer zones to deal with run off

  • Extensive tree planting is available for private landowners

  • Efforts have been minimal to fix the high concentrations of phosphorus and nitrate.