|The Blue Sea Lake Watershed Association Bulletin
Issue No. 12 - Février 2014
Continued Collaboration with our Municipalities
In December, 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 Groupe Hémisphères’ 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.
We will provide updates on these issues in future editions of Shorelines.
Blue Sea Report on Shoreline Vegetation and Septic System Compliance
To help reduce the inflow of phosphorus and thereby prevent the further deterioration of our waterways, residents/cottagers must ensure that their septic systems are properly constructed/maintained and that their shorelines comply with the MRC’s 2009-206 Interim Control By-law, which established protection measures for lake shores, river banks, etc.
Based on an email that the Association received in mid-December from the Municipality of Blue Sea, it is clear that we still have a long way to go regarding the latter. As noted in this email, only 20-30% of shoreline properties in the Blue Sea sector of the lake fully comply with MRC regulations, 50-60% partially comply, and fully 20% comply only marginally or not at all. To address this very serious problem, the Municipal Inspector will increasingly issue fines instead of warnings for non-compliance.
As to septic systems, property owners in the municipality are, for the most part, voluntarily upgrading their systems when advised that they do not comply with regulations. At present, septic systems are normally checked only when septic tanks are emptied, which - in the case of cottagers - is once every four years. To improve this program, the Municipal Inspector has committed to inventory and visually inspect all such systems within the next two years. He will also develop an action plan to update deficient and potentially polluting systems.
Our Association fully supports the Municipality of Blue Sea in its efforts to protect our watershed. We applaud the Municipal Inspector for the excellent work he has done to date and for his commitment to do even more in the future. We ask all residents/cottagers to support the Municipality in its efforts. Well done Blue Sea!
Lac Laverdure – Update
One of the key findings of the 2010 GEIGER Report was that the phosphorous content of the water in Lac Laverdure - a tributary of Blue Sea Lake - was in the mesotrophic range, indicating that the lake was aging much faster than it should. Given the proximity of the Algonquin Golf Course to this sparsely inhabited lake, it recommended that the Association take a look at that facility to determine its impact on the health of the lake.
In response to the GEIGER Report, the Association instituted an aggressive monitoring programme of Lac Laverdure which included the taking of both water and oxygen samples. In addition, with financial support from both municipalities and with the full cooperation of the golf course owner, the Association commissioned two studies: the first - done by ABV des 7 - to determine the origin of the excessive phosphorous inflow; the second - conducted by Groupe Hémisphères - to confirm that finding and to provide detailed recommendations on how to reduce phosphorous inflow and thereby improve the water quality of Lac Laverdure.
The first study found high levels of phosphorus in the stream connecting Lac Maclean to Lac Laverdure where it passed through a marshland near the golf course. The second study concluded that a major source of the high phosphorous levels was the marshland itself. As to the golf course, the study found that it is currently being managed in an environmentally responsible manner, employing many excellent environmental practices including an exemplary pesticide program and limited fertilizer use. To help reduce phosphorus inflow, the Groupe Hémisphères study recommended that the course make some relatively minor landscaping alterations and that it enhance its already good fertilizing practices. As to the marshland, it recommended that steps be taken to reduce beaver activity in the area and to modify the effect of existing beaver dams on the stream’s water flow.
The Association is working with the municipalities and the golf course owner to enact all related recommendations. It is also consulting Mr Michel Leclair, an expert in beaver management. Mr Leclair is in charge of the beaver management programme in Gatineau Park and was recently featured on an episode of "The Nature of Things”. Mr Leclair will be conducting an on site visit in the Spring.
Tips for Winter – a Reminder
Winter is not over yet! With the lake frozen and the ground covered with snow, we often forget that how we treat the environment during the winter can have a significant impact on our watershed. For some ideas on how to have a “green winter”, click here.
Shorelines is a production of the Blue Sea Lake Watershed Association
Contributions: Dick Ryan, Francis LeBlanc, Don Karn, Paul R. Ouimet. Production: Paul R. Ouimet.