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Old Ausable Channel Management Plan

Download the Old Ausable Channel Management Plan (pdf - 6,895KB)

Grand Bend Community Foundation Cheque Presentation

Grand Bend Community Foundation Donation for Implementation of the OAC Management Plan in 2008

The photo shows Dave Bannister (left), Chair of the Grand Bend Community Foundation, and Pat Morden (right), Vice Chair, presenting the $15,000 grant to the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation (ABCF). Accepting the cheque at centre is Kari Killins, Aquatic Biologist with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) and Coordinator of the Old Ausable River Channel Watershed Long-Term Management Plan.

Media Release issued April 25, 2008

Old Ausable Channel Management Plan unveiled after two years of development – plan now moves into implementation

A management plan for the unique Old Ausable Channel ecosystem was unveiled to the public at a meeting held in Grand Bend on Saturday, April 19 to showcase the document which has been two years in the making.

The Old Ausable Channel (OAC), which runs north from Grand Bend through Pinery Provincial Park, is one of the most unique ecological features in southwestern Ontario. The OAC is home to three species at risk fishes, and the oak savanna forest on its shores is internationally significant.
“The management plan was completed in early 2008 thanks to the assistance and dedication of a steering committee made up of Grand Bend and area residents as well as several agencies,” said Kari Killins, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority Aquatic Biologist and Coordinator of the OAC Plan. “The creation of this plan is exciting because we now move into implementing community recommendations on how to conserve this important watershed.”

Thirty-five people attended the meeting at the Grand Bend Royal Canadian Legion. They found out about the highlights of the finished Management Plan and the role they can play in implementation and received a copy of the document.

The Grand Bend Community Foundation is contributing $15,000 for implementation of the plan in 2008. Implementation actions will include the education of residents and neighbours of the channel, anglers and visitors regarding beneficial practices near the ecosystem. Projects will include a wetland enhancement study at the north end of the channel and the creation of a landowner native plant guide, among many other recommendations to be completed.

“We have enjoyed working with the ABCA throughout this process, and are very impressed by the results,” said David Bannister, Chair of the Grand Bend Community Foundation. “The Foundation sees this as an excellent investment in the long-term environmental quality of the Grand Bend area.”

The creation of the Old Ausable Channel Management Plan, and its implementation, has been made possible by several funding partners: Grand Bend Community Foundation, Government of Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority and other generous community sponsors.

The Old Ausable Channel was cut off from the rest of the Ausable River at the end of the nineteenth century. No longer part of a flowing river, the channel is characterized by clear water and dense aquatic vegetation.  Due to its lack of flow, the old river channel will, over many years, convert to a more pond-like ecosystem that may eventually become less aquatic and more terrestrial.

Residents of Grand Bend and area embarked on a planning process in 2006, to develop a long-term management plan for the Old Ausable Channel, in conjunction with the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) and other agencies. A stakeholder steering committee was formed consisting of representatives from the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority, the Pinery Provincial Park, the Municipality of Lambton Shores, the Universities of Western Ontario and Waterloo, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and volunteers from the five main Grand Bend residential communities including Southcott Pines, Pinedale, Beach O’ Pines, Wee Lake and Huron Woods as well as representatives from the village of Port Franks. 

This planning process carried over into 2007, with the community-based stakeholder committee continuing to provide direction and guidance into the design of the management plan. The plan was completed in early 2008.

“After a thorough planning process with the community we are looking forward to implementing the recommendations that have been developed,” Killins said.

Anyone interested in information on the OAC document can contact Kari at Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority at (519) 235-2610 or 1-888-286-2610 or e-mail The completed plan is posted at and

Stewardship Guide
"Lake Huron Stewardship Manual Workshop"

The guide is intended to provide you with environmentally friendly education and allows you to go step by step through an environmental evaluation of your property and its management.  By completing worksheets, you will learn what you are doing right and where you can improve in protecting water quality and the environment on your property.  By being a good steward of the land you are also protecting your investment as a property owner.

Please go to to view the guide.

ABCA Watershed Report Card 2007

Download (in pdf format) the Old Ausable Channel (Dunes) section of the ABCA Watershed Report Card. If you would like to read the other sections of this report on the entire watershed area of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority click on the following link to the download page on the ABCA website. 


Thank you to the funding partners for the OAC Management Project

Grand Bend Community Foundation
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation
Gov of Canada's Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP)
Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

and also ...
Numerous local groups and volunteers that have offered their in-kind time and services

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