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Notice to Public


Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) properties and trails reopened to public for limited use

DATE OF ISSUE: May 22, 2020

Trails and properties owned and/or managed by Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) have been reopened to the public, for limited use, during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Properties had been closed since March 31, 2020. 

The reopening affects all conservation areas: Clinton, Bannockburn, Zurich, Morrison Dam, Crediton, Lucan, Parkhill, Rock Glen, and Ausable River Cut.

Other properties include Mystery Falls, L-Lake, Sadler Tract, and Linfield. 

The opening also includes MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail.

ABCA owns thousands of acres of forests and these properties are now open, to limited use, as well.

Currently the following conservation area facilities remain closed until further notice: buildings and museums, playgrounds, washrooms and privies. 

The reopening to limited uses also includes properties of the Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy (HTLTC) – Bayfield River Flats Natural Area; Mayhew Tract; and Heaman Tract.

Visitors are asked to select the property (e.g., conservation area) closest to their home in order to limit unnecessary travel and avoid over-crowding.

Visitors should limit their stay to an hour or less to ensure everyone can enjoy an experience in nature.

Be prepared to turn back if a parking lot is full. Illegal parking is subject to fines and towing.

Visitors should follow public health and safety guidelines including but not limited to:
  • Do not visit the property if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.
  • Practise physical distancing by staying a minimum of two metres (six feet) apart
  • Stay on trails, stepping off only to allow others to pass
  • Yield to oncoming trail users when crossing bridges and boardwalks
  • Do not gather or arrange to meet family, friends or other groups
  • Keep pets on leash and clean up after them
  • Do not trespass on private property next to trails managed by ABCA
  • Respect the instructions provided by our dedicated staff
For updates and to find out more visit the website at including the Notices of Service Disruptions page at this link:

Cover Crops Innovation

Have you wondered about using cover crops after corn?

Find out more about using #60inchcorn to help establish a cover crop during this trial project south of Clinton, Ontario, Canada.

Watch the video now: Stay tuned for more updates over the season!

#pieceofthepuzzle #healthylakehuron #landtolake #covercrops
Visit for employment information.

Job posting for Conservation and Restoration Technician  Eight-week summer position

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) is accepting applications for the eight-week summer position (June 29-August 21, 2020) of Conservation and Restoration Technician.

For full updated details of the job posting please visit our Jobs and Employment page:
Remembering the Walkerton water contamination tragedy 20 years later.

Commemoration of 20 years since Walkerton water tragedy

Remembering Walkerton water tragedy 20 years later reminds us of need to learn its lessons, more important now than ever


During current public health challenge we think also of another

By Matt Pearson, Chair, Ausable Bayfield Maitland Valley Source Protection Committee (SPC)

As the world deals with the current COVID-19 pandemic we are reminded of the importance of our public health system which works to protect us. Twenty years ago this May another major public health event – the Walkerton water contamination tragedy – shook our province and our nation.

It is important we continue our ongoing work in Ontario to protect our municipal drinking water, through source water protection and other barriers of protection, to ensure something like this does not happen again.

The drinking water supply in Walkerton, Ontario, Canada, became contaminated by Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Campylobacter jejuni bacteria in May of 2000. Seven people died and more than 2,300 people became ill. Many people continue to have adverse health effects from this tragic event.

Dennis R. O’Connor, a Justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, was appointed Commissioner of the Walkerton Inquiry, an independent Commission.

The Commission made recommendations to improve “ … all aspects of the drinking water system in Ontario, including the protection of drinking water sources; the treatment, distribution, and monitoring of drinking water; the operation and management of water systems; and the full range of functions involved in the provincial regulatory role.”

For archives of the Commission’s recommendations visit this web page:
The tragedy at Walkerton was not the only example of the need for protection of our water sources and a multi-barrier approach – but it was a catalyst. The O’Connor Commission’s call to action, in response to Walkerton, resulted in changes to how drinking water was managed, including the introduction of Ontario’s Clean Water Act, 2006.

In the Ausable Bayfield Maitland Valley Source Protection Region our committee of local representatives has developed source protection plans, in effect since April of 2015, with policies that help to protect our municipal drinking water sources.

I thank all the people who are taking positive local actions at home and work to keep our drinking water safe and clean.

We remember those who died in Walkerton twenty years ago this month and we think of all the people whose health continues to be affected from that tragedy. The impact of that tragedy was far-reaching and long lasting, affecting many people.

We must remember to thank all the people in public health, environmental protection, and local citizens who continue to work and advocate for safe drinking water.

Together, we are all part of this work to protect public health in Ontario. Let us all do our part to keep ourselves, and others, safe.

To learn more visit the local source protection website:

Go to for details.
ABCA reopens conservation areas, trails to limited use

Playgrounds, washroom privies remain closed until further notice

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) announced on May 22, 2020 that trails and conservation areas owned and/or managed by ABCA were reopened to limited use. Playgrounds, play structures and privies in conservation areas remain closed and Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre is also closed until further notice. Otherwise, ABCA trails and conservation lands are open for public use contingent on following public health direction.

ABCA reminds people they need to practise all applicable public health guidelines including social physical distancing of at least two metres (six feet). The conservation authority is adding signs to reinforce the need for social physical distancing and it is asking people to not use the trails, conservation areas, or other conservation lands if they have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The reopening includes all conservation areas: Clinton, Bannockburn, Zurich, Morrison Dam, Crediton, Lucan, Parkhill, Rock Glen, and Ausable River Cut. Other properties include Mystery Falls, L-Lake, Sadler Tract, and Linfield. The reopening also includes MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail.

To maintain physical distancing, trail users are asked to move in a counter-clockwise direction with the increasing numbers on the distance markers.

ABCA began Phase 1 of property reopenings on May 19, with opening of conservation forests and management areas where there are no trails, parking lots, or other shared amenities.

The May 22 reopening of properties also extends to Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy properties: Bayfield River Flats Nature Area; Mayhew Tract; and Heaman Tract.

ABCA continues to consult with municipalities and community partners in reopening of facilities. Staff have been doing risk management inspections at the conservation areas to ensure they are safe for reopening. The ABCA Board of Directors approved the property reopenings at the May 21, 2020 Board of Directors meeting.

“We thank everyone for the patience they have shown as we prepared for the appropriate time to reopen these wonderful locations for safe nature enjoyment,” said Doug Cook, Chair of the ABCA Board of Directors.

The past few weeks have really underlined how much local residents cherish local trails and conservation areas, according to the Chair.

“We are glad to be in a stage where we can begin to reopen,” Doug said. “We ask people to use these areas properly to keep themselves, their families, their neighbours, and their community safe.”

The conservation authority will monitor trail and conservation area use and will make decisions affecting the areas based on updated information from the Province of Ontario, police and public health authorities, as well as local use patterns.

For updates on trails, conservation areas, conservation lands, and Ausable Bayfield Conservation service disruptions and adaptations visit the website and the Notices of Service Disruptions web page at this link: ABCA is asking visitors to select the property closest to them in order to reduce crowding and to limit travel. Trail and conservation users are also encouraged to keep their visits as short as possible. As washrooms and privies are not available, trail and conservation area users are asked to plan their visit accordingly and to bring their own hand sanitizer as there are no hand washing facilities available.
World Turtle Day is coming!

World Turtle Day!

World Turtle Day is Saturday, May 23, 2020


Posts, quiz, contest, prizes for World Turtle Day

How many species of turtles are in Ontario? What is one of the biggest threats to turtles? What can you do to help turtles? The answers to these and other questions are part of a Turtle Quiz by Ausable Bayfield Conservation.

We have also been sharing Ten Days of Turtle Facts from May 13-22 leading up to World Turtle Day.

The deadline to take the short Ten Days of Turtle Facts quiz, and to be entered in the free draw for one of two turtle prize packs, is at 4 p.m. local time on Friday, May 22, 2020.

All those who complete the quiz by 4 p.m., through the survey link at, are entered into a random draw for one of two turtle prize packs.

The winner is to be announced on World Turtle Day, Saturday, May 23, 2020.

Learn more here:
“We want to make learning about turtles fun,” said Hope Brock, Healthy Watersheds Technician at Ausable Bayfield Conservation.

The daily posts, the quiz, and the contest prizes are ways to make this year’s World Turtle Day more engaging than ever, Hope said.

More than a hundred people have completed the quiz so far and the reach of the social media post has been in the thousands.

Visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed (links are at the bottom of this page) to learn about why we need to protect our turtles and how.

“It’s important to think about Ontario turtle species on World Turtle Day, and to learn what we can do to help these animals all year long,” Hope said.

May is an important time of year to think about turtles, according to Hope. Turtles often have to cross roads in search of mates, new habitat and suitable nesting areas. Most turtle species nest from late May to early July so people can help to protect them especially at this time by driving slowly, carefully, and being extra cautious about turtles on the road.

Thanks to participating landowners and funding partners, we are improving water, soil, and habitat.

Talk to us about tree planting, grants, and stewardship

Participating landowners are completing tree planting and stewardship projects to protect and improve water quality, build soil health, restore wetlands, improve stormwater management, and add habitat.

They are making these improvements possible thanks to support of our funding partners and with technical support from Ausable Bayfield Conservation staff.

To find out about our forestry and stewardship programs, email us, phone us, or visit our Forestry and Stewardship web page:
If you are in Huron County, find out about the Huron County Clean Water Project including new 2020 funding and a new projects brochure. Find out more here:
If you live in the Ausable River watershed, and you would like to find out about actions you can take to improve habitat for local aquatic species and funding grants that may be available as incentives to help you do stewardship projects, email us, or call us, or find out more here:
Thanks to all participating landowners and residents and funding partners for making this work possible. Together, we can improve our forest and wetland conditions and protect and improve water, soil, and habitat for living things.


The office is currently closed until further notice, in response to the current pandemic, but staff are available to serve you by email and phone. Programs and services, including essential services and flood forecasting and warning, are continuing. For updates and current notices of service disruptions and adaptations visit

71108 Morrison Line,
RR 3 Exeter, ON
N0M 1S5


Staff continue to serve you by email and phone but the office is closed until further notice at the time of this newsletter - for this and other notices of service disruptions and adaptations, and updates, visit

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