Sustainability, which attempts to balance environmental preservation and economic growth, includes puzzling problems such as better managing the world's water resources and enhancing the quality of life.

Municipalities within the Nottawasaga Valley and Lake Simcoe Watersheds, north of Toronto, are now considered to have a high potential for significant growth. Both watersheds form part of the Georgian Bay ecosystem, within the Great Lakes Basin. Integrated watershed management planning by the Nottawasaga Valley and Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authorities is protecting water resources and ensuring the availability of water servicing for controlled development. This includes the maintenance of streamflows for the assimilation of treated sewage effluent from headwater basins and protection of unimpaired aquatic habitat at the same time.

Monitoring the performance and success of the watershed plans is a vital component to sustain a healthy ecosystem pulse while accommodating growth. The comprehensive GIS based, multi-partnered monitoring program being used is unique. This low-cost, transferable approach for watershed monitoring includes a biological method known as BioMAP. The monitoring program has a proven track record for pre-design and post-construction stages of new development. Various case studies are presented.

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