Plans - Ontario
Lakewide Management Plans (LaMPs)
Physical and Environmental Features of the Lake Ontario Basin
Lake Ontario is the last of the chain of Great Lakes that straddle the Canada/United States border. Its shoreline is bordered by the Province of Ontario on the Canadian side and New York State on the U.S. side. Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes, with a surface area of 18,960 km2 (7,340 square miles), but it has the highest ratio of watershed area to lake surface area. It is relatively deep, with an average depth of 86 meters (283 feet) and a maximum depth of 244 meters (802 feet), second only to Lake Superior. Approximately 80 percent of the water flowing into Lake Ontario comes from Lake Erie through the Niagara River. The remaining flow comes from Lake Ontario basin tributaries (14%) and precipitation (7%). About 93 percent of the water in Lake Ontario flows out to the St. Lawrence River; the remaining 7 percent leaves through evaporation. Since Lake Ontario is the downstream Great Lake, it is impacted by human activities occurring throughout the Lake Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie basins.
Ecosystem Goals for Lake Ontario
- The Lake Ontario Ecosystem should be maintained and as necessary restored or enhanced to support self-reproducing diverse biological communities.
- The presence of contaminants shall not limit the uses of fish, wildlife, and waters of the Lake Ontario basin by humans and shall not cause adverse health effects in plants and animals.
- We as a society shall recognize our capacity to cause great changes in the ecosystem and we shall conduct our activities with responsible stewardship for the Lake Ontario basin.
- Aquatic Communities (benthic and pelagic): the waters of Lake Ontario shall support diverse and healthy reproducing and self-sustaining communities in dynamic equilibrium, with an emphasis on native species.
- Wildlife: the perpetuation of a healthy, diverse, and self-sustaining wildlife community that utilizes the lake for habitat and/or food shall be ensured by attaining and sustaining the waters, coastal wetlands, and upland habitats of the Lake Ontario basin in sufficient quality and quantity.
- Human Health: the waters, plants, and animals of Lake Ontario shall be free from contaminants and organisms resulting from human activities at levels that affect human health or aesthetic factors such as tainting, odor, and turbidity.
- Habitat: Lake Ontario offshore and nearshore zones and surrounding tributary, wetland, and upland habitats shall be of sufficient quality and quantity to support ecosystem objectives for the health, productivity, and distribution of plants and animals in and adjacent to Lake Ontario.
- Stewardship: Human activities and decisions shall embrace environ-mental ethics and a commitment to responsible stewardship.