The Blue Sea Lake Watershed Association Bulletin

Issue No. 5 - December 2012

Kudos to MRC's Septic Tank Sludge Treatment Centre
On 26 October, several members of the Association’s Board of Directors visited the MRC’s Septic Tank Sludge Treatment Centre in Kazabazua. They were most impressed by the excellent work being done at this facility where septic tank sludge is converted into pathogen-free compost and water.
Winter Tips
Although we sometimes think that we can drop our “environmental guard” during the winter, this is simply not the case. We must not forget that what we leave on the snow or the ice in the winter will make its way into our lakes and streams come spring.
A special reminder to those who drive or ski-doo over our frozen waterways – before proceeding onto the ice, be sure that your vehicle is not leaking oil or other toxic fluids and that your undercarriage, wheel wells and wheels/skis are free of salt, grit, etc... Also remember to use summer access trails to the lake, rather than taking a direct route over the snow. Even though covered by ice and snow, shoreline vegetation and embankments can be damaged by winter traffic. For more tips on how to protect our environment during the winter, click here.
 
Action Plan 2012-2013
Working to improve the water quality in Lac Laverdure; seeking ways to reduce the phosphorus levels in our lakes through strengthened shoreline protection and improved management of septic systems; and researching ways to limit the importation and spread of invasive species in the lakes of the Blue Sea Lake Watershed: these are among the priority initiatives contained in the Association’s 2012-13 Action Plan, approved by the Board of Directors on November 24th. The plan also describes our program of water testing to monitor and assess the environmental health of the watershed as well as our proposed efforts to sensitize the public and promote good environmental practices. For more details, why not view the plan itself by clicking here.

Late Season Water Samples (Brrr)
At 10 o’clock on 20 November - with the ice fog lifting and the temperature hovering at 0° C - Don Karn and Dick Ryan canoed out to RSVL site 72D in the Messines sector of Blue Sea Lake to take three water samples. Later that same morning, they repeated this procedure in the Blue Sea sector at site 72B. They undertook this rather chilly expedition to see whether the inversion of the lake’s water - which occurs every year in the late Fall and again in the early Spring - would have any effect on the lake’s phosphorus levels. Based on the samples they took, the answer is “yes but not too much”. The average of the samples was 5.03 µg/l at site 72B and 5.1 µg/l at site 72D - only somewhat higher than the 4.4 µg/l and the 3.8 µg/l averages recorded at these sites in the summer of 2011. For more information regarding the RSVL water testing program, click here.
  
New Board Member
Already a very active member of the Association, our webmaster - Paul R. Ouimet - was elected to the Board of Directors at the last Annual General Meeting. Originally from the Outaouais, Paul was introduced to Blue Sea Lake in 1969 by his wife-to-be, Évangéline Britt - a Maniwaki native - when they visited her family’s cottage on the lake. Since then, this loving couple has had three children and four grandchildren. Although Paul and his family left the Outaouais area for Montreal in 1979, they have maintained strong ties to the region. A recently retired civil engineer who specialized in transportation, Paul can now devote more time both to his favourite physical activities (swimming, sailing, hiking, biking, and motorcycling) and to volunteer work. Through his experience in Canada and abroad, Paul has developed a passion for the environment and is strongly committed to its preservation.
 
MRC Inspectors Hard at Work
Since the approval of the interim shoreline regulations in August 2009 (click here to view these regulations), the MRC has been very busy monitoring their implementation. In fact, during the past two years, MRC inspectors have visited 2,800 waterfront properties (primary residences and summer homes/cottages), have issued between 300 and 400 verbal or written warnings, and have initiated corrective and/or punitive action in response to approximately 200 infractions.  Interestingly, many of these infractions occur during the Fall and Winter and involve backfilling along the shoreline, the destruction of littoral zone vegetation, etc... You can help the MRC protect our watershed by advising them of any suspected shoreline-related infractions that you observe.  For details on how to submit a complaint, click here.

Changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act
Bill C-45, the Government of Canada's Omnibus budget bill, was passed by the Senate last Friday December 14th. Among many other things, this bill will replace the Navigable Waters Protection Act, in place since 1882, with the Navigation Protection Act. The purpose of the earlier bill was to regulate free passage and navigation on all lakes and other navigable waterways in Canada. Under the new bill, the scope of federal protection will be reduced from all navigable waterways large enough to float a canoe to only the largest commercial waterways. Our Association is concerned that this change will weaken the protection from harmful development previously afforded to inland waterways like Blue Sea Lake.
To learn more about your Board of Directors’ position on this very important issue, please click here. If you share our concern, we urge you to write your local MP, in the Gatineau Valley, Mathieu Ravignat, MP.

Season’s Greetings
During the past year, your Association has been extremely busy, addressing a wide variety of challenges. We would not have been able to do achieve all that we have without the outstanding cooperation of our members, volunteers, partners, and sponsors. The Board of Directors would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and to offer you and your families all the best for the holiday season and for the year to come. Let us make 2013 a banner year for the Association as we work together to protect and enhance our watershed for future generations.
 
In 2013, let us work together to improve our environment!

Shorelines is a production of the Blue Sea Lake Watershed Association.
Contributions : Dick Ryan, Francis LeBlanc, Paul Ouimet. Translation : Dick Ryan, Paul Ouimet  Production : Paul Ouimet.
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