Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) is updating the content of our website in 2023.
Our Community Projects and Volunters web page will soon be renamed to Get Involved.
This page will link to other web pages with information on:
- Public consultation
- How to volunteer
- How to donate
- How to do conservation projects on your property
- Carbon Footprints to Forests
- Conservationist of the Year Award
Watch for this information coming in the months ahead.
Introduction to Our Get Involved Web Page
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) relies on partnerships to conserve the watersheds and protect people and property from natural hazards of flooding and erosion.
Conservation authorities were formed through partnerships of local municipalities and the Province of Ontario.
The federal government, the provincial government, agencies, organizations, landowners and community volunteers all have roles to play in protecting the watersheds today and for future generations.
Ausable Bayfield Conservation is always looking for new partnerships and volunteers.
There are several ways for you to get involved in conserving our local watersheds. You can volunteer your time, do stewardship projects on your property, provide input to projects and policies and donate money and other assets.
Public consultation on projects
Members of the public have participated on steering committees for several strategic plans including the Conservation Strategy, Main Bayfield Watershed Plan, Old Ausable Channel Management Plan and Shoreline Management Plan to name a few.
Citizen involvement helps ensure documents meet the needs of the community and local environment, and include practical, implementable recommendations and action plans.
Ausable Bayfield Conservation also asks for public comment on projects and policies.
Check our Get Involved page (coming soon), and our current Community Projects and Volunteers web page, for updates.
There are several volunteer opportunities available at Ausable Bayfield Conservation, including trail maintenance, water sampling, rain gauge monitoring, Conservation Dinner Committee, trail and conservation area groups, steering committees and secondary school placements.
People can also apply specialized skills for special projects.
Community groups are often involved in adopting conservation areas or partnering on fundraising events.
If you are interested in volunteering at Ausable Bayfield Conservation, download our volunteer application form and return the completed form via email or mail to Corporate Services Coordinator Abbie Gutteridge, email@example.com at 519-235-2610, or toll-free 1-888-286-2610, extension 256.
You can donate directly to ABCA or through the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF), a registered charity that works closely with the ABCA to raise funds for local projects for water, soil, and habitat for all living things.
We welcome: monetary donations, pledges, donations of property, stocks, bonds, life insurance annuities, or bequests in estates. Donations can be used for current or future projects. They can also contribute to endowment funds.
Please select the donate button at the top of our home page or visit the Foundation web page for more details.
Conservation projects on your property
Everyone can do projects to help improve their properties and the watershed. Staff are available to provide ideas, technical advice and links to grants to help cover project costs. For more information, please visit the Stewardship, Restoration and Forestry web page.
Environmental Farm Plans (EFPs)
Environmental Farm Plans (EFPs) are voluntarily prepared assessments by farm families to increase their environmental awareness in up to 23 different areas on their farm.
Through the EFP process, agricultural producers highlight their farm's environmental strengths, identify areas of environmental concern and set realistic action plans with timetables to improve environmental conditions.
Cost-share programs are available to assist with project costs.
To learn more, please visit the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association website at:
Rural Landowner Stewardship Guides
The Rural Landowner Stewardship Guide is based on the Environmental Farm Plan and is designed for rural non-farm landowners. The over-riding goal is to protect and enhance the natural environment – both groundwater and surface water such as watercourses, ravines, wetlands and lakes, and the natural heritage features that support these ecosystems. The free guide is available at:
Landscaping and garden projects help create habitat and reduce the impacts of rainfall events.
Rain barrels are a simple way for landowners to harvest rain water and helping them to meet increased water demands without taxing municipal drinking water systems or private wells.
The added benefit is that this water is not running off the land where it could transport soil and pollutants into our storm sewers, creeks, rivers, lake, and drinking water sources.
Installed at eavestrough downspouts, rain barrels can hold up to 220 litres of rainwater which can be used to water gardens, plants, lawns and trees.
Many local home and garden retailers sell rain barrels. The company Rainbarrel.ca reclaims food-grade barrels to be reused as rain barrels.
Partnerships with local non-profit organizations result in fundraising truckload sales events for dozens of communities in Ontario. For more information, visit:
Our Rain Barrel web page is moving!
Watch for it on our new Get Involved section of the website, coming soon.
When we launch our new Get Involved web page, we will provide a link to the new Rain Barrels page.
Our Rain Gardens web page is moving!
When we launch our new Get Involved web page and website section, we will provide a link to the new location (pending) of the rain gardens page.
Rain gardens are shallow, sunken gardens designed to collect, capture; soak up, absorb and filter stormwater runoff from roofs, roads, and driveways. This reduces flooding, improves water quality, creates habitat and beautifies your yard. These gardens can be designed to match existing landscaping, formal gardens or natural gardens. Homeowners can choose plants specifically to attract birds, butterflies, and other pollinators.
For more information about how to create a rain garden and grant programs, contact Hope Brock, Healthy Watersheds Technician, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-235-2610, or toll-free 1-888-286-2610, extension 246.
Here is the list of local contractors with rain garden design and construction experience, endorsed by Landscape Ontario:
- List of Contractors (Pending)
Carbon Footprints to Forests Program
The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) Carbon Footprints to Forests Program gives people, businesses and community groups a local way to compensate for their personal carbon footprint by donating funds to plant trees in the ABCA region.
When you travel by automobile or plane or power your home you create carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases but participate in the program, those greenhouse gases are captured by having trees planted. Every three trees planted capture about one tonne of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) in their lifetimes.
The online easy-to-use carbon calculator tells you how many tonnes of greenhouse gases are produced by your vehicle and home energy use (and air travel, if you travel by air). The calculator also tells you how much it would cost to balance the impacts of these activities. The site also tells you how many trees will be planted by your local conservation authority thanks to your donation.
If you would like to know how much carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases (GHGs) you produce through home energy use and travel by automobile and/or plane, access the carbon calculator at footprintstoforests.com. You can then choose to donate all or part of your carbon footprint.
Meeting organizers can counter-balance the carbon footprint of automobile travel to a meeting by planting trees through footprintstoforests.com. They can simply use the ‘one-time event’ drop-down choice in the website’s carbon calculator. The ABCA also invites corporations to consider ways they can reduce and/or counter-balance their carbon footprint.
The Carbon Footprints to Forests program was launched in 2014. In the ABCA region the trees are planted at two ABCA properties: Triebner Tract near Exeter and Linfield Wildlife Area near Bayfield.
To learn more, visit footprintstoforests.com or call Ausable Bayfield Conservation at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.
Conservationist of the Year Award
The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) has presented the Conservationist of the Year Award since 1984 to recognize significant conservation efforts.
Our Conservationist of the Year Award page is moving.
This page will become part of our new Get Involved section (coming soon).
Ausable Bayfield Conservation plants a tree and installs a plaque at a Commemorative Woods site maintained by the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation.
Individuals, organizations or companies who have completed conservation work within the ABCA region, can be nominated for the Conservationist of the Year Award. Current ABCA staff members and directors are excluded.
The Conservation Award acknowledges one individual or group per year who demonstrates positive conservation principles. The nominee must have undertaken conservation efforts over a number of years that have shown long-term benefits for the natural environment and society.
Examples of conservation work that protects soil, water, and living things, include:
- Improving local water quality
- Conservation farming
- Environmental education
- Providing wildlife and fish habitat
- Promoting environmental awareness and action
Download the Conservationist of the Year Nomination Form (2023) now on our Conservation Award page:
Please send the nomination form prior to the deadline to:
Tim Cumming, Communications Specialist,
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA), 71108 Morrison Line,
RR 3 Exeter, ON N0M 1S5 at email@example.com ; Facsimile: 519.235.1963
Please contact Tim Cumming (firstname.lastname@example.org) or 519-235-2610, or toll-free 1-888-286-2610, extension 248 for additional information about the award and the names of past recipients.
Watershed Communities – Local Watersheds in Action
Ausable Bayfield Conservation thanks the individual watershed communities of residents and partners who are planning, and taking action, to improve forest conditions and enhance and protect water quality and soil health, in their local ecological neighbourhood – their watershed.
For more information visit our 'Get Involved' page:
To find your local watershed community, a local report card on forest conditions and water quality, and recommendations for how you can improve your ecological neighbourhood and create healthier watersheds, please go to our:
To learn about positive actions communities are taking around Lake Huron and Georgian Bay visit A Canadian Initiative for Community Action at:
Some watershed communities actively involved in local planning and action in Ausable Bayfield watersheds include:
Ausable Bayfield Watershed Communities in Action
- Ausable River Recovery Strategy (predecessor to Ausable River Action Plan)
- Ausable River Action Plan
- Conservation Strategy Development Team
- Crops and Creeks Huron (Watershed Based Best Management Practices Evaluation WBBE Program)
- Old Ausable Channel (Ausable Bayfield Conservation page) / Friends of the Old Ausable Channel (external site)
- Bayfield North Watersheds
- Main Bayfield Watershed
- Lake Huron - Georgian Bay Watershed - Lake Huron Charter / A Canadian Framework for Community Action
- Friends of the South Huron Trail
- Watershed Report Cards
To find out how to volunteer visit our Get Involved page. Click this link: Get Involved Web Page
Get Involved - From the Conservation Strategy:
People from the watershed community provided lots of ideas, in the Conservation Strategy. about how people can help improve their watershed.
Contact us about ways you can get involved in the protection of soil, water, and living things.
- Plant trees.
- Do a stewardship project.
- Use best management practices (BMPs) at home and work.
- Volunteer with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation
- Volunteer with the Friends of the South Huron Trail
- Be part of the Volunteer Rain Gauge Network
- Volunteer at Summer Nature Day Camp for a day in the summer
- Measure trees at Bannockburn Conservation Area
- Take a few hours to mark fish on paved road through the Yellow Fish Road Program at any community in the watershed
Phone us to find out about other opportunities. Contact our staff through staff contacts list.
Local people are capturing greenhouse gases by ‘calculating, donating, planting’ with Carbon Footprints to Forests program
When you travel by automobile or plane or power your home you create carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases but when you calculate, donate at footprintstoforests.com you can capture those greenhouse gases by having trees planted locally, permanently
Local conservation authorities have planted more than 1,500 trees and captured hundreds of tonnes of greenhouse gases, since 2014, thanks to donations to the Carbon Footprints to Forests program.
Footprints to Forests gives people and community groups a local way to compensate for their personal carbon footprint. Every three trees planted capture about one tonne of greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) in their lifetimes. This program is a way for people to respond to a global issue with local action.
If you would like to know how much carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases (GHGs) you produce through home energy use and travel by automobile and/or plane, you can try the free, easy-to-use carbon calculator at footprintstoforests.com. You can then choose to donate all or part of your carbon footprint. Trees will be planted locally and permanently to capture the equivalent of that carbon.
People or groups holding meetings can counter-balance (offset or compensate for) the carbon footprint of automobile travel to a meeting by planting trees through footprintstoforests.com. They can simply use the ‘one-time event’ drop-down choice in the website’s carbon calculator.
The conservation authorities also invite corporations to consider ways they can reduce and/or counter-balance their carbon footprint. They are invited to call their local conservation authority to find out how.
Your carbon footprint is the greenhouse gas emissions released by typical aspects of your day-to-day life. If you use a car or truck or other vehicle, or use energy to heat and run your home, this puts more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the air. Trees help to absorb these greenhouse gases. The planting of these trees for the long term reduces the impacts of climate change on the planet and your local area. Trees also provide other benefits such as habitat for diverse species and improved air and water quality.
The website’s easy-to-use carbon calculator tells you how many tonnes of greenhouse gases are produced by your vehicle and home energy use (and air travel, if you travel by air). The calculator also tells you how much it would cost to balance the impacts of these activities. The site also tells you how many trees will be planted by your local conservation authority thanks to your donation.
Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases add to average temperatures but trees can help to reduce the impacts of extreme weather and climate change and help us adapt to the weather changes we are experiencing.
As trees grow, they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide shade and cooling effects when it’s hot out and limit the impact of snow and wind during the wintertime. This helps us to adapt to extreme weather events and a changing climate.
Your carbon footprint is greenhouse gases from vehicle fuel, air travel, and home energy.
Trees capture carbon, add biodiversity, improve water quality, connect forests and other natural features, and provide habitat.
Trees add resilience to pests, diseases, and other climate change impacts.
Tree planting alone is not enough to fight climate change but it is one strategy, combined with others, to sequester carbon.
Read about changes to the Carbon Footprints to Forests program:
- Footprints to Forests Update (August 2022) PDF file
To learn more, visit footprintstoforests.com or call Ausable Bayfield Conservation at 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610.