Bayfield North Watersheds

The Huron County Federation of Agriculture, Ausable Bayfield Conservation and the University of Guelph’s Watersheds Evaluation Group recently completed a two-year Crops and Creeks Huron partnership project to evaluate watershed-based best management practices (BMPs).

Koos and Nathalie Vermue are one of more than 30 farm families in the Bayfield North area that participated in the Crops and Creeks Huron BMP evaluation project.

More than 30 landowners who have implemented BMPs in three watersheds participated. The work was made possible through funding from Ontario’s ministries of Agriculture and Food (OMAF), and Rural Affairs (OMRA), and the Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Ecosystem.

Project partners utilized a Soil and Water Assessment Tool to determine the cumulative effectiveness of the four types of BMPs (conservation tillage, cover crops, nutrient management, and berms).

Monitoring efforts in Bayfield North watersheds have been generating local, provincial, and international interest, with Ausable Bayfield Conservation hosting several tours of sites in the area. Tour groups have included Healthy Lake Huron stakeholders, a group of Huron County councillors, and the Agricultural Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ontario Ministry of Rural Affairs. U.S. researchers toured several BMP monitoring stations in 2013.

The project found that structural BMPs (such as berms or grassed filter strips) have environmental benefits realized downstream in the watershed and agronomic/management BMPs (such as using conservation tillage or cover crops on a regular basis) tend to have more immediate benefit at the field scale, but also cumulative benefits at the watershed scale.

Crops and Creeks Huron built on past actions the Bayfield North, Zurich Drain, and Ridgeway Drain watershed communities have taken. Several other projects are continuing these efforts to identify and implement BMPs to protect and improve water quality. Monitoring the effectiveness of BMPs is also continuing in Bayfield North watersheds.

Monitoring at the watershed scale continues at two sites, made possible by the Rural Stormwater Management Model project. Monitoring at several BMP sites is also continuing through OMAF’s New Directions program.

Monitoring programs such as these provide valuable information to landowners on the effectiveness of implementing best management practices on agricultural properties.


Mari Veliz

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority
519-235-2610 or 1-888-286-2610   

North Bayfield Shoreline
North Bayfield Shoreline


Bayfield North Watersheds





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