01 Nov Ben Longstaff
Ben works for the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority in Ontario, Canada. At LSRCA he responsible for subwatershed planning, source water protection, urban restoration and environmental monitoring programs. Before emigrating to Canada Ben worked and lived in Maryland, USA and Queensland, Australia.
Reducing phosphorus (P) loads to Lake Simcoe and its tributaries required an innovative new approach to mitigate impacts of historical and on-going urbanization. Elevated urban P loads can largely be attributed to inadequate and poorly maintained stormwater management facilities. The legacy of poor stormwater management has resulted in a massive infrastructure and maintenance deficit for which there was no identifiable financial solution. In response to this challenge a P offsetting program based on the concept of a ‘zero export policy’ has been established. With an additional 9km2 of the watershed slated for development by 2031 the zero export policy requires all new and re-development to have no P discharge. Where zero P discharge is not achieved then a financial “offset” for the outstanding loads is charged to the developer. Implementation of the program is driving innovation in Low Impact Development / water-sensitive urban design implementation in new developed areas and provides significant funding to reduce existing P loading through retrofit within existing urban areas. Understandably there is significant scrutiny and interest in the program from industry, government and environmental stakeholders; as such failure to deliver the offsets is not an option. This presentation will highlight key elements of program, its formation and approaches to achieving the P offsets.