STRATEGIC PLANNING - 2020
The efforts required to carry out the Association's projects will eventually require more funding than it currently enjoys. To support these efforts, the Association has been granted registered charitable status by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) following a redefinition of its objectives. This change of status allows the Association to issue tax receipts for the donations received. The exercise of updating the strategic plan of the Association takes place in this context.
Founded in May, 2009, the Blue Sea Lake Watershed Association's mission is to protect and preserve the Blue Sea Lake and Blue Sea Creek watershed, an ecologically sensitive and endangered 80 km2 area within the municipalities of Messines and Blue Sea. This mission remains unchanged.
In 2020, the threats to the health of lakes in our watersheds are the same and sometimes greater than what has been identified in the past. The most important remain without question the following:
- The proliferation of invasive species such as Eurasian water-milfoil, already present, and the risk of introduction into our lakes and streams of other species, such as zebra mussels. In 2019, proliferation of not only Eurasian water-milfoil but also other aquatic plant species can still be observed. On the other hand, the danger posed by the introduction of new invasive species by boats coming from other waterways remains a great concern.
- Excessive nutrients (e.g., phosphorus) in our waterways, with septic systems being the main source of nutrients from humans. The results of measurements of water transparency and phosphorus levels in our lakes seem relatively good. However, the presence of periphyton on rocks on lake bottoms and the rapid proliferation of the biomass suggest a persistent overabundance of nutrients in the water. Even if there is no correlation between the quantity of Eurasian milfoil and the quantity of phosphate in a lake, the quantity of products containing phosphate introduced in the septic system must be reduced even if the latter meets the standards.
- The action of the waves generated by the motorized boats accelerates the erosion of banks which also contributes to the excessive supply of nutrients. The behavior of many boaters still leaves much to be desired, especially in the case of some operators of wake boats designed to produce large waves incompatible with the environment of the greater part of Blue Sea Lake and of most of the other lakes in our watersheds.
- The significant increase in lake water levels in the spring, which is slow to recede, adds to bank erosion by the waves. As the snow melts, the water level rises and makes the shorelines more vulnerable to wave action from winds and boats, particularly wake boats, at a time when sparser vegetation is less able to prevent erosion.
- The "urbanization" of the riparian lands which results in the erosion of the banks and the increased supply of nutrients in the water. There are still several properties where the municipal by-laws incorporating the provisions of Interim Control By-law 2008-325 of the MRC de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau (MRC) aiming to integrate the provisions related to the Protection policy of lakeshores, riverbanks, littoral zones and floodplains are not fully or partially complied with, particularly with respect to the prohibition of any vegetation control interventions in the shoreline.
- The lack of awareness or the indifference to the health of our local environment of people who live in our watersheds or use our waterways. This takes a variety of forms - failure to comply with shoreline regulations, inadequate septic maintenance, boaters who drive recklessly or ignore yellow buoys, washing in the lake with soap, feeding the ducks, using fireworks close to the lake or leaving trash at ice-fishing sites - and requires constant efforts at awareness building and public education to foster more responsible behavior.
The purposes in our Supplementary Letters Patent define four major areas of intervention. This is what characterizes the strategic orientations of the Association's interventions to be expected over the next few years; these areas of intervention can be summarized as follows:
- Information: educate and raise awareness of the importance of water protection and sanitation through the production and dissemination of information in various forms;
- Monitoring: Ensuring the sustainability of the water resource and its uses in the Blue Sea Lake and Blue Sea Creek watersheds by conducting a water sampling program and publishing the results of the data collected;
- Action: Contribute to the protection of the Blue Sea Lake and Blue Sea Creek watersheds through targeted actions to identify, locate and eventually eradicate invasive species, including support for our partners' efforts in this regard.
- Funding: For these purposes, solicit, receive and administer funds obtained in the form of donations or other sources to support the activities of the Association.
The strategic plan sets out the proposals of the Board of Directors that will dictate the actions of the Association in the coming years. The plan is structured according to the four main areas previously identified.
Information and Awareness
- Operation of a website for both member and visitor information and archiving of watershed data;
- Periodical publication of an electronic newsletter with paper version for posting;
- Development or update of signage, leaflets and other information documents on the dangers that threaten our lakes and good practices to counter them, including the rules to be followed by boaters, and the behavior to be adopted, especially in the case of powerful motorized boats;
- Information or awareness campaigns on critical elements deemed relevant to counter threats to the health of our lakes, including fireworks.
Water Quality Monitoring
- Sustained monitoring of the water quality of our lakes according to the protocols of the Volunteer Lake-Monitoring Program (VLMP - RSVL in French) for the lakes included in the program (end 2019: lakes Beaudry, Blue Sea - 4 sites, Castor Blanc, Caya, Clément, Edja, Grant, Grenon, Laverdure, Deep and Roberge), those protocols deal with the following:
- measuring the transparency of the water,
- collection of water samples,
- measurement of the periphyton,
- visual tracking of water blooms of blue-green algae;
- Expand the VLMP program as needed by applying for additional eligible lakes and extending the monitoring through new protocols;
- Publication of the results of the monitoring and sampling programs;
- Monitoring of water level fluctuations in Blue Sea Lake.
Interventions for the Protection of the Watersheds
- Annual program for the systematic demarcation of Eurasian water-milfoil stands with yellow buoys;
- Containment Eurasian water-milfoil by the placement of jute tarps in areas deemed critical by the size of the stands and the training of riparian owners in appropriate techniques to uproot the milfoil plants in front of their property;
- Development and monitoring of signage required to support the boat washing program;
- Annual distribution of seedlings for reforestation or revegetation of the riparian zone.
Recruitment, Financing and Relations with Partners
- Review of the Association’s purpose, its organization and its image, with adjustment as needed according to the requirements arising from its new status and challenges;
- Conducting the annual Membership Recruitment Campaign by focusing on electronic communications as much as possible and promoting the charitable status of the Association for those able to donate;
- Development and refinement of a recruitment and support strategy for volunteers who are essential to the success of the Association's activities;
- Establishing and maintaining links with other associations or organizations in order to promote the exchange of information and share experiences with similar issues;
- Organization of ongoing monitoring of government programs that could provide funding for the Association's interventions.