The Blue Sea Lake Watershed Association Bulletin
Issue No. 21 - July 2015
|Association will hold 7th AGM on Saturday, July 11th
Be sure to mark your calendar for the morning of Saturday, July 11 and plan to attend the Association’s 7th Annual General Meeting (AGM). Please note that this year’s AGM will take place at the Church in Blue Sea and NOT at the Municipal Hall in Messines, as in previous years.
This year’s AGM will feature an extended open discussion with the members. Although a question and answer period has always been an important part of the AGM, this year it will be the principal focus of the meeting.
The AGM is your best chance to learn about the health of our lakes and about what your Association has been doing to help preserve and protect them. More importantly, it will give you an opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns about the state of our watersheds. This feedback helps guide and inform the Association’s priorities and ensures that it remains true to its mission.
The AGM is also an opportunity for you to renew your annual membership and to elect members to the Administrative Council. To learn more about how our Board operates, please read the next article.
How the Administrative Council Works
The Blue Sea Lake Watershed Association is an organization of volunteers. At each Annual General Meeting (AGM) attendees elect members to sit on the Association’s Board of Directors or Administrative Council (AC). Immediately following the AGM, the AC meets to choose its officers (President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer).
The AC meets approximately every six weeks, normally at the home of one of the Administrators. These meetings feature very fulsome and frank discussions and typically last about three hours. Detailed minutes are kept of the proceedings and are posted on the Association’s website.
At its first meeting after the AGM, the AC discusses the questions and comments raised by members of the Association at the AGM, reviews the work done during the previous year, discusses the status of projects currently underway, and brainstorms as to what its priorities should be in the next 12 months. Based on these discussions, one of the officers prepares a draft update of the strategic plan, incorporating the projects/activities that have been suggested as well as a chronological summary of any action to be taken. These draft documents are circulated for review, a review that includes the costing of any new or ongoing projects that have been proposed. At the next meeting, these draft documents are reviewed in detail before being amended and approved. Once approved, they are used as the basis for the Association’s annual budget and its funding request to the municipalities – all of which must be completed before the end of October. The Association’s annual program of activities is outlined in its Strategic Plan, key portions of which are posted on the Association website.
Once the annual program has been approved, members of the AC take charge of the various initiatives, individually and/or as participants in a number of sub-committees. Our President represents the Association in its discussions with municipal leaders and other organizations. The Vice President chairs the Watershed Protection Subcommittee which coordinates the Association’s water sampling program and other initiatives related to safeguarding the watershed. There is also a subcommittee on communications which oversees the management of the website; the production of Shorelines and other communications initiatives. In addition, there are subcommittees on Membership, Education, and Infrastructure.
Since its beginning, the Association has been fortunate to have had Administrative Councils that reflect a balanced mix of watershed residents and cottagers who care deeply about the health of our waterways, who bring a rich diversity of perspectives and skills to the Association, and who work hard between meetings to advance the Association’s ambitious agenda. No one is paid and virtually no expenses are sought. Council discussions are conducted in both French and English, are collegial, and are motivated by a clear commitment to the health of this beautiful area. Election to the Council is for two years and is renewable.
Serving on the Administrative Council is challenging, rewarding, and very fulfilling. If you think that you might be interested in becoming a member of our dedicated team, we encourage you to learn more about what we do by speaking with one of our Council members (click here for coordinates).
2015 Youth Project
The Blue Sea Lake Watershed Association understands that to ensure the sustainability of our efforts to protect our lakes and waterways, we need to engage the next generation. That is why, for the third year in a row, we have organized a youth awareness project in collaboration with the teachers of local schools. The program involves both a classroom component and a ‘field trip’ in which students conduct activates along the watershed and on the lake in order to gain an appreciation of the local environment and to see first hand some of the threats facing our watershed (eg: invasive species, periphyton growth, and shoreline erosion).
Following on the successful program she developed last year with teachers and students from Messines, retired educator and Board Member - Marlène Thonnard - organized a project for elementary students at Reine Perrault School in Blue Sea. On May 19th and June 11th, Marlène met with the students in the classroom to explain the dynamics of watersheds and why it was important to protect the wetlands.
Then, on June 22nd, these same young people participated in a rally on the bicycle path bordering Blue Sea Lake which allowed them to apply the knowledge they had acquired during their activities in class. They were also taken on the lake to see some of the threats facing the local environment at close range. To conclude the day, students expressed their vision and understanding of what they experienced in the form of a mural, which they created under the guidance of local artist, Sylvie Grégoire. This work of art is now displayed in the school as a reminder of their commitment.
Aquatic Invasive Species – Information Campaign
The health of our watershed is at risk due to the inflow of excessive nutrients (eg: phosphorus) and the introduction and spread of invasive species (eg: Eurasian Milfoil, Zebra Mussels, Rusty Crawfish, Water Chestnuts etc). Such aquatic plants and animals can severely harm our waterways by displacing native species, ruining spawning grounds, reducing dissolved oxygen levels, and accelerating the premature aging of our lakes.
The main means by which these nasty visitors get into our waterways is by hitching a ride on boats, motors, fishing equipment etc that are moved from one lake/river to another. You can help stop this from happening by closely inspecting and thoroughly cleaning your vessel and all related equipment before taking them from one waterway to the next. Ideally you should clean your boat, motor, and equipment with hot water and a high powered pressure washer, however, any type of thorough washing will help. If possible, you should also let everything dry in the sun for three or four days before launching your boat in a different lake or river.
To help combat aquatic invasive species, our Association is urging the municipalities of Blue Sea and Messines to implement a mandatory boat rinsing program as has been done by numerous other municipalities in Quebec. As it will take some time before such a program can be enacted, our Association has initiated an information campaign at the public boat ramps. As part of this campaign, a group of volunteers conducted one-on-one interviews with boaters launching their vessels at the Blue Sea and Messines ramps on the first weekend of the fishing season (2/3 May), on the May long weekend (16/17 May)and finally on June 26. We have also enlisted the help of Mélanie L’Écuyer at the Blue Sea Presbytère and Kevin Boushey in distributing information packages: the former to boaters who use the Blue Sea boat ramp, the latter to clients of the Messines Marina.
Many thanks to them and to our other boat ramp volunteers: Bernard Asselin, Royal Joanis, André Beauchemin, Benoit Belisle, Claude Perrier, Conrad Lafontaine, Pierre Hurtubise, Rose Ryan, Morris Richardson, Don Karn,John Turnbull, Francis LeBlanc, Robert Duval and Dick Ryan.
Be part of the solution:
- Thoroughly inspect and clean your boat before launching it in a different waterway, and
- Urge your local councillor/mayors to fast track the implementation of a mandatory boat rinsing program to protect our watersheds.
|Did you know?
Quebec government policy stipulates that only very light water craft (eg: a kayak, a canoe, a dingy, or a small skiff) can be launched from a private site. All "trailered" vessels must be launched from a public boat ramp.
RSVL Results for 2014 Now Available
Two of the most important activities of the Association are the annual measurement of water transparency at and the collection of water samples from various lakes within both the Blue Sea Lake and Blue Sea Creek watersheds. The taking of these measurements and the collection of the samples are done by volunteers in accordance with the scientific protocols established by the “Réseau de surveillance volontaire des lacs” (RSVL). RSVL is a provincial agency that helps lake and watershed associations throughout Québec monitor and document the health of their waterways. Under this partnership, association volunteers effect the measurements and collect the samples while the RSVL team analyzes, interprets, and publishes the results. RSVL also provides valuable support in many other related areas.
The province-wide results of the 2014 RSVL water quality monitoring program are now posted on the RSVL website (http://www.mddelcc.gouv.qc.ca/eau/rsvl/index.asp). Water quality and transparency data for the following watershed lakes can be found there: Blue Sea, Edja, Grant, Laverdure, Beaudry, Paquin and Profond.
In interpreting this data, two points must be borne in mind. First, taking transparency measurements/water samples is a long-term effort; the results will vary from year to year and are only meaningful over an extended period of time. Second, and more importantly, these data only tell part of the story: assessing the environmental health of a lake is a very complicated endeavor that involves the consideration of a multitude of other phenomena including aquatic plant and periphyton growth, the appearance of blue-green algae blooms, etc. To get an idea of what’s involved, please read “Assessing the Health of a Lake” on our website.
The Association has just begun its 2015 RSVL monitoring program and is pleased to announce that Lac Grenon and Lac Roberge have been officially accepted into the RSVL program starting this year. Both lakes will be taking water samples and transparency measurements thanks to volunteers Marie-Ann Poulin (Lac Grenon) and Michael Donovan (Lac Roberge),
RSVL - Translation of Protocols
The Association is pleased to announce that we have translated two important RSVL protocols (and their related documentation), namely, the “Visual Tracking of a Blue Green Algae Bloom” and “Monitoring Periphyton”. We will be posting these protocols on our website together with RSVL-provided translations of the “Taking Water Quality Samples” and the “Measuring Water Transparency” protocols. Eventually, we hope to translate all of the RSVL protocols, however, this will take considerable time. In the interim, if you require assistance interpreting any of them, please contact one of our directors.
RSVL = VLMP
As noted in the previous article, we are in the process of adding translated versions of RSVL protocols to our website. Please note that there is a slight difference in the terminology used in those translated by RSVL and those translated by our Association. In the former, RSVL translates the name of the program "Réseau de surveillance volontaire des lacs" (ie: RSVL) as "Voluntary Lake-Monitoring Program”, and uses the acronym “VLMP" in their English translations. Because our Association has - since its inception - used the acronym "RSVL" when referring to this program in all our English correspondence, presentations, etc, we have decided to continue using that term (vice VLMP) in the documentation that we produce. Be advised, however, that you will see the abbreviation "VLMP" in those documents that have been translated and provided by RSVL. Just remember: "VLMP = RSVL".
PS: If you wish to access the one RSVL page presented in English on their Ministry’s website, you must google "VLMP" or - preferably - "VLMP Quebec". This will lead you to http://www.mddelcc.gouv.qc.ca/eau/rsvl/index-en.htm. Please note that you can’t get to this page directly from the RSVL website.
Shorelines is a production of the Blue Sea Lake Watershed Association
Contributions: Dick Ryan, Francis LeBlanc, Robert Duval Layout: Francis LeBlanc