Severn Sound Remedial Action Plan


Severn Sound was one of 17 places on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes which are known as “Areas Of Concern” (AOC) because of degraded water quality. The Severn Sound is located in southeastern Georgian Bay and includes major population centres in Midland and Penetanguishene. The watershed covers an area of approximately 1,000 km2.

In each AOC, a Remedial Action Plan was developed to identify and control sources of pollution and report on the cleanup. Between 1987 and 2003, Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Environment were working with other federal and provincial agencies and local stakeholders in the Severn Sound area to complete a Remedial Action Plan (RAP). The purpose of the RAP is to restore and preserve the beneficial uses of Severn Sound for the present and the future.


the Parties are to report on the progress of the RAP at three stages:

In accordance with the International Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) as amended in 1987

The first stage of the RAP, that of describing Environmental Conditions and Problem Definition (Severn Sound RAP, 1988) was submitted to the International Joint Commission (IJC) in February, 1989. In June, 1991 the IJC informed the Canadian Government that the Severn Sound RAP has met the requirements of Stage 1 RAP under the terms of Annex 2 of the GLWQA (1987).

Download the SSRAP Stage 1 Report.

The second stage, that of providing the detailed remedial action plan following consultation on the remedial options, listing remedial actions, schedules, effectiveness, responsibilities, estimated costs, delisting objectives and a monitoring plan (Severn Sound RAP, 1993) was released in April 1993. Following detailed review of the document by the federal and provincial governments, the document was submitted to the IJC on June 15,1999. In September 2001, the IJC informed the Canadian Government that the Severn Sound RAP has met the requirements of Stage 2 under the terms of Annex 2 of the GLWQA (1987).

The following remedial actions have been implemented to improve water quality and restore wildlife habitat in the Severn Sound Area of Concern: 

• Improve sewage plant efficiency 
• Upgrade private sewage systems
• Reduce stormwater supply
• Reduce agricultural sources of pollution
• Reduce erosion
• Reduce impact of marine activities
• Protect and improve fish and wildlife populations and habitat
• Prevent contamination

Download the SSRAP Stage 2 Report.

The third stage, that of providing details of the status of restoration and delisting objectives for Severn Sound and that the use impairments identified in Annex 2 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (1987) have been restored, is the subject of the SSRAP Stage 3 Report. The Stage 3 Report was the final step to removing Severn Sound from the list of Great Lakes AOC’s, once it was reviewed and accepted by the International Joint Commission and the Federal and Ontario Provincial Governments.

Download the SSRAP Stage 3 Report (5.9 mbs) for:

• the strategy implemented to restore beneficial uses and meet locally defined goals in an Area of Concern (AOC). 
• the evidence that beneficial uses of the area have been restored 
• a discussion of the rationale to delist the AOC despite some uses remaining “impaired.” (Canada Ontario Agreement, COA 1995).
• the conclusions of the RAP Team, the Public Advisory Committee, the local municipalities, the public at large, the Agencies’ • Technical Review Team, and the federal and provincial governments.
• the rationale to remove the designation of “Area of Concern” from Severn Sound
• Incorporate RAP concerns into official plans

Canada has removed Severn Sound from the list of Areas of Concern

On January 22, 2003, the Canadian Minister of the Environment and Minister of Foreign Affairs transmitted a letter to the International Joint Commission, formally announcing that Canada has removed Severn Sound from the list of Areas of Concern.

Severn Sound is considered a model among RAP areas because of the extraordinary support from local municipalities and the public through the Severn Sound Environmental Association.

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