Rouge Watershed Issues & Challenges
Over the last few decades, increasing concerns about the health of our cities, the safety of our drinking water and the future of the Oak Ridges Moraine have lead to a number of initiatives towards sustainable living. Actions taken in the Rouge watershed can provide a model for actions in other watersheds, as well as influence the environmental health of larger systems. The Rouge watershed is the most easterly of six Toronto Region watersheds identified by Canada, the United States and the International Joint Commission as an Area of Concern on the Great Lakes, where remedial action is being undertaken to restore environmental quality. Although the Rouge watershed is still the healthiest of the six, it is showing many signs of stress due to past land use practices, and there is concern that ongoing population growth, and the development to support it, will cancel out the
benefits of restoration efforts. The watershed plan will guide protection and restoration efforts toward the ultimate de-listing of the Rouge watershed from the Toronto Area of Concern.
The Rouge watershed has many parks and conservation areas, but one - Rouge Park - is
distinguished as the largest natural park in a city in North America. Rouge Park is managed by the multi-stakeholder Rouge Park Alliance with a vision to ensure that the Park remains a sanctuary for nature and the human spirit. A number of park plans have been developed to guide management of the Park, but their success also depends on sustaining a healthy watershed, and the Rouge Park Alliance has called for a watershed plan to identify how this can be assured.