Events and Activities of 2013
- January 11th – Meeting at the MRC de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau
- January 12th – Meeting with Representatives of the Corporation du Petit et du Grand Lac des Cèdres
- February 1st – Meeting with Representatives of the Association for the Protection of Thirty-One Miles Lake
- April 9th – Publication of the 6th Issue of the Newsletter Shorelines
- April 27th – Field Trip – Unexpected Results
- May 4th – Inaugural meeting of the Regroupement pour la protection de l’eau de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau
- May 25th – Tree Distribution
- June 4th – Meeting regarding the Blue Sea Stream Dam
- June 6th – Publication of the 7th Issue of the Newsletter Shorelines
- June 15th to October 15th – Sampling and Transparency Measurement
- June 25th – Installation of the Information Kiosk in Blue Sea
- June 28th – Visit to Lac Cayamant's Boat and Trailer Rinsing Facility
- July 8th – Delivery of the Information Kiosk to Messines
- July 18th – Publication of the 8th Issue of the Newsletter Shorelines
- July 27th – Annual General Meeting
- August 16th and 20th – Periphyton Measurements
- August 23rd & 29th – Installation of Yellow Buoys – Presence of Eurasian Milfoil
- September 27th – Publication of the 9th Issue of the Newsletter Shorelines
- September 26th to 30th – Blue-Green Algae Spotted in Blue Sea Lake
- October 5th – Official Inauguration of the Mont Morissette Tower
- October 26th – Association Member of the Regroupement pour la protection de l’eau de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau
- November 12th – Publication of the 10th Issue of the Newsletter Shorelines
- December 3rd – Continued Collaboration with our Municipalities
- December 13th – Publication of the 11th Issue of the Newsletter Shorelines
December 3rd – Continued Collaboration with our Municipalities
December 3rd, Don Karn and Dick Ryan met with the mayors and town managers of Blue Sea and Messines to discuss those watershed issues that the Association feels should be addressed in the near term. Principal amongst these were:
- the need for an enhanced septic system inspection program and for better servicing of island-based septic installations;
- the challenges of and possible solutions to cohabitating with beavers;
- the implementation of Group Hémisphère’s recommendations for reducing nutrient inflow into Lac Laverdure;
- the enhanced application of shoreline protection measures;
- the blue-green algae blooms and the need for a clearer protocol for reporting and tracking such blooms; and
- the benefits of implementing a “boat rinsing” program similar to that established at Lac Cayamant.
The meeting was very constructive, with municipal officials demonstrating their strong commitment to protecting and enhancing the watershed and to working with and supporting our Association
At its October 26th meeting, the Board decided that the Association should join the “Regroupement pour la protection de l’eau de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau” ((Association for the Protection of Gatineau Valley Waterways). The mission of this new organization - which is essentially a federation of like-minded associations, municipalities, and stakeholders - is to protect our region’s waterways and groundwater.
The Regroupement will be able to address issues that go beyond the scope and framework of local lake and environmental associations. It will also provide a forum in which such associations can exchange ideas, develop positions on matters of mutual interest, and pool resources to meet common challenges. We believe that our association can make a positive contribution to the Regroupement and that being a member of this organization will enhance our ability to preserve and protect our watershed.
On October 5th, the Mont Morissette Regional Park Association inaugurated the new observation tower on the mountain top next to the old fire tower.
The Blue Sea Lake Watershed Association is proud to have contributed to this great project through the fundraising campaign “On monte ensemble” (we climb together).
The tower provides stunning views throughout our magnificent watershed; it is another way to showcase our watershed and remind us of the importance of preserving it for future generations.
Looking towards Messines
Note that on this occasion, our president Don Karn was identified as the winner of the Mont Morissette slogan contest with the following proposition: “Le Mont Morissette, une expérience à la hauteur” ( Mont Morissette, a heightened experience).
During the period 26 to 30 September, 2013, blue-green algae blooms were spotted in Blue Sea Lake along the shoreline in both the Belle Plage (on both sides of Belcourt Point) and Orlo (from just north of Gravelle Point all the way to the mouth of the Blue Sea/Grant Lake creek)sectors. These sightings were promptly reported to both municipal and provincial authorities. In addition, several samples of the blooms were taken and subsequently delivered to the Gatineau office of the Ministry of the Environment (MDDEP) which forwarded one of them to their laboratory in Quebec City for analysis.
That analysis, the results of which were received in mid-October, confirmed that the blooms were in fact blue-green algae; however, no determination was made as to the toxic level of the algae analyzed.
This most recent appearance of blue-green algae in Blue Sea Lake (as well as in Lac Roberge and Lac Edja earlier this year) combined with the proliferation of Eurasian milfoil and periphyton in our waterways clearly demonstrate that, as suspected by our Association, our watershed continues to have a significant problem with excessive phosphorus inflow in spite of the various measures taken to date. It will take much time and greater individual and collective action to correct this situation.
As a resident/cottager, you can be part of the solution by ensuring that your septic system is functioning properly; by using only phosphate-free soaps, detergents, and other cleaning products; and by fully complying with the MRC shoreline regulations as restoring and maintaining shoreline vegetation can significantly reduce phosphorus inflow. For more information on this issue, please refer to the November 12th newsletter and the blue-green algae page of our website.
August 23rd & 29th – Installation of Yellow Buoys – Presence of Eurasian Milfoil
To help limit the spread of Eurasian milfoil on Blue Sea Lake, the Association has begun to mark large beds of this invasive plant with yellow buoys. With the help of several volunteers, a total of 20 buoys were anchored at five locations on the 23rd & 29th of August. Unfortunately, three of the buoys installed just north of Cayford Point have since been stolen.
Although it was near the end of summer when we were finally able to do this work, we felt it was worthwhile to proceed with the project in order to gain experience for next year and to see how the buoys do over the winter period.
Many thanks to Robyn Saunders, Bernard Asselin, Dave Maclaren, and Dick Ryan for their assistance with this project. A special thanks as well to Kevin at Marina Messines for the loan of a pontoon boat.
Boaters are reminded that they are to avoid areas infested with Eurasian milfoil. If you must proceed through such an area, please stop your motor and row or paddle through the bed. Be sure to remove any segments of milfoil from your boat/motor and dispose of them well away from the shoreline.
Be aware that many beds of this invasive plant have not been marked. As they are most often found within 10 to 20 meters of the shoreline, boaters should stay well away from shore when operating their vessels.
August 16th and 20th – Periphyton Measurements
On August 16th and 20th, periphyton thickness was measured at the 15 sites on Blue Sea Lake that were selected last year (2012) for monitoring the growth of this slimy mixture of green/brown fresh-water organisms and debris that clings to submerged objects. The measurements were effected in accordance with the related RSVL protocol. The results, which were submitted to RSVL on September 5th, show very little variance from those taken in 2012.
The Blue Sea Lake Watershed Association held its 5th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday morning, July 27, 2013 in the Messines Town Hall. Among other things, the agenda included the following items:
- the approval of the minutes to last year's AGM (click here to view);
- the President's report on what the council had accomplished during the past year and on its plans for the future;
- the Treasurer's report on the state of the Association's finances (click here for the financial statements);
- a period for questions, exchange of ideas, and discussion; and,
- the election of new members to the Board of Directors.
In his report, the President went over some of the topics considered important for the Association, of which several were the subject of articles in the newsletter "Shorelines":
- the Septic Tank Sludge Treatment Plant and the Interim Control By-law, two important achievements of the MRC;
- the work of the municipal inspectors responsible for the application of the aforementionned regulations;
- the association outreach efforts;
- the increasing presence of aquatic plants;
- the installation of information kiosks at the public docks;
- the youth project (the information bicycle);
- the water level of the lake;
- the Lake Laverdure follow-up study undertaken by the Hemisphere group, an environmental consultant;
- issues to be discussed with the municipalities;
- the purple loosestrife, an unwelcomed invasive species;
- a word of caution with respect to the interpretation of the RSVL program water quality data;
- the importance of the members’ involvement in the achievement of the Association's objectives.
The question and discussion period with members highlighted a number of concerns, including:
- the current condition of the dam on the Blue Sea Creek;
- the spread of Eurasian milfoil;
- the presence of beaver dams at Lake à Riopelle dams;
- the problems posed by the influx of non-resident boats;
- access to the Blue Sea Lake in winter.
The issue of boat access to Blue Sea Lake by visitors generated the most animated discussion. Members expressed their concerns and highlighted solutions that have been considered or implemented by other municipalities (eg: the washing of boats, the prohibition of wake boats, charging for access to the lake, etc.).
Two new members were elected to the Board of Directors: Ms. Robyn Saunders and Mr. John Turnbull.
The Information Kiosk for Messines was delivered to the public dock on 8 July and installed a few days later by municipal staff. Apart from Messines-specific notices, this kiosk will feature the same posters and brochures as the one in Blue Sea.
Unfortunately, at the end of August, this kiosk was vandalised with two locks being forced open, a wooden frame broken and a panel of plexiglass taken.
On Friday, 28 June, Don Karn and Dick Ryan visited Lac Cayamant to view that municipality's boat and trailer rinsing facility which had just opened the previous week. Hélène Joanisse, the assistant DG, briefed them on the operation and gave them a short tour. She explained that the rinsing facility was a municipal initiative aimed at helping prevent the introduction of additional invasive species to the lake (they already have a significant milfoil problem), particularly zebra mussels which reportedly have already been spotted in La Vérendrye Parc and Lac Leamy.
The facility is located in the municipal compound and comprises a hot water, gas driven Powerjet Pressure Cleaning System and a large gravel bed (30m X 10m - a guestimate) bordered on one side by a retaining ditch (under the bed and the ditch is a membrane which allows for the slow release of any residue into the soil). The pressure washer is fed by a garden hose and heats the water to over 40 degrees C (the minimum temperature required to kill bacteria, etc...). No soap or other cleaning products are used in the rinsing - just hot water. Two summer students have been hired to conduct the operation. On an alternate basis, one student operates the pressure washer while the other patrols the boat launch to advise anyone wishing to launch his/her boat to have it and the trailer rinsed in the municipal compound. They were trained to operate the equipment by a local consultant. This year, there is no charge for the rinsing (although donations are gladly accepted) and it is being conducted on a voluntary basis. However, next year they will charge $15 per rinsing (to cover their costs) and it will be compulsory. The municipality has taken this gradual approach to help educate boaters and to give its officials time to draft a covering regulation that will not contravene any provincial or federal statutes.
The pressure washer cost about $5,000; the construction cost of the gravel bed and of the signage was not available at the time of the visit. The town had already altered the rinsing facility's hours of operation to accommodate fishers. Those hours are 9 AM to 1 PM on Monday, 9 AM to 3:30 PM on Thursday, 7 AM to 3:30 PM on Friday and Saturday, and 7 AM to 1:30 PM on Sunday (it's closed on Tuesday and Wednesday).
June 25th – Installation of the Information Kiosk in Blue Sea
On the 25th of June, municipal personnel installed the Association’s Information Kiosk near the public wharf. Shortly thereafter, representatives of the Association posted a number of notices and brochures in the kiosk.
Visitors can find a wide variety of useful information at this new facility, ranging from good boating practices, ways to protect our watershed, and seasonal tips on how to enjoy country life in an environmentally responsible manner. The municipality can also use the kiosk to post regulations and information regarding the protection and preservation of our watershed.
June 15th to October 15th – Sampling and Transparency Measurement
Between June 15th and October 15th, volunteers conducted RSVL water samplings and transparency measurements on Lac Profond, Lac Allard, Lac Grant, and Lac Laverdure. During the same period, they took transparency measurements on Blue Sea Lake.
On the 4th of June, the President of our Association, Don Karn, attended a meeting of stakeholders to discuss the future of the dam on the Blue Sea Stream. The dam, which is categorized as high-capacity, is 3.4 metres high with a retention volume of 47,464, 000 cubic metres. Other attendees included officials from the safety division of the provincial centre of expertise for dams, the regional municipality of the Gatineau Valley, and the municipalities of Blue Sea and Messines.
Based on the discussions at this meeting, the Association is satisfied that the responsible parties are considering both social and environmental factors in their search for a way ahead. It is also clear that the Tremblay family, who built the dam in 1912 and did a good job maintaining and monitoring it for many years, is not capable of funding the upgrading and maintenance that is now required.
Coincidentally, this year, the water level of the lake was very high at the beginning of summer - a phenomenon that some attributed to the dam. It is true that the dam underwent emergency repairs in the spring and that this could have contributed to the high water levels. However, if these repairs had not been effected, the dam could have failed, resulting in a much worse situation. It also important to recall that we had both an above average amount of snow during the winter and very heavy rains in the spring, the combination of which was likely the principal cause of the high water levels.
With the aim of vegetating our shorelines and protecting our lakes, the Blue Sea Lake Watershed Association, in partnership with the municipalities of Blue Sea and Messines, organized the distribution free of charge of seedlings from a number of different trees, made available courtesy of the Gatineau Valley MRC. Among the species which will be available is white spruce, red pine, yellow birch, black cherry, bur oak, and American elm.
The tree distribution took place Saturday, May 25 from 9:00 am to Noon from two locations: in front of the Municipal Hall at Messines AND in front of the Reine-Perreault School in Blue Sea.
On May 4th, Don Karn and Dick Ryan represented the Association at the inaugural meeting of the “Regroupement pour la protection de l’eau de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau” (Association for the Protection of Gatineau Valley Waterways). The purpose of the meeting was to approve the mission and objectives of this new organization and to elect a board of directors.
On Saturday, April 27, five members of the Association’s Board of Directors conducted a field trip along the 2 km stretch of the bicycle path where it runs parallel to the stream connecting Lake Maclean to Lake Laverdure. While walking along the bicycle path, the members observed all sorts of garbage in the water including plastic containers, aluminum cans, pieces of broken fence, a tire on its rim, and even a snowmobile frame. This was a strong reminder that our environment is not a dump; it underlined the importance for all to be responsible by leaving no trace while enjoying the outdoors. For more details, »»»»
In the same context as for the previous meeting, Don Karn et Dick Ryan met with representatives of the 31 Mile Lake association with basically the same positive results. There is a will for a coordinated collective action to surmount the many common challenges facing the associations.
In an effort to gain a greater appreciation of local environmental issues and initiatives and - at the same time - develop closer relations with like-minded organizations, Don Karn and Dick Ryan met with their counterparts from the Cedar Lake association. The meeting proved most worthwhile as it gave all parties an opportunity to share their experiences and compare notes on such issues as invasive species, septic system management, and shoreline revegetation. Although it was acknowledged that each association has its own unique problems, all agreed that only through the coordinated collective action of our associations will we be able to surmount the many common challenges we face in our effort to protect and preserve our watersheds for future generations.
Don Karn and Dick Ryan met with a representative of the MRC to discuss a wide variety of issues important to the Association including challenges in the application of the regulation on the protection of shorelines, the situation re Lac Laverdure, and the Navigable Waters Act. They took the opportunity to infdicate how impressed they were as to how helpful the MRC has been in assisting our Association on various issues.