The topo-bathy Lidar derived lake depth of southern Lake Ontario near Lincoln, Ontario shown above

Since 2017 the Canadian Hydrographic Service of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) have been engaged in the joint acquisition of LiDAR data for the Canadian side of the Great Lakes. The project provides bathymetric data for navigational purposes and for ecosystem classification (i.e., bottom type) in order to increase knowledge of nearshore areas of the Great Lakes. Topo-bathymetric data has been acquired for the nearshore areas of Lakes Superior, Huron, and Ontario. Where feasible, this included all bays, inlets, islands, peninsulas, and land areas up to 200 metres inland and aerial imagery processed into 0.2 metre ground resolution tiles.

DFO and ECCC are responsible for delivering on commitments in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the Canada-Ontario Agreement for Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health; both agreements include commitments to assess nearshore ecosystem and habitat health, and meeting that commitment requires detailed bathymetric data for the Great Lakes. LiDAR is a robust and cost effective method for improving DFO’s navigational charts and ECCC’s overall assessment of nearshore ecosystem and habitat health. Making bathymetric LiDAR available will support overall management actions to protect nearshore waters.

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