Photo: Harrison Haines
During the last week of July and the first few days of August, Watersheds Canada personnel were in Barry’s Bay gathering data while drifting around on the waters of Carson, Trout, Lepine and Greenan Lakes. Watersheds Canada is a federally incorporated, not-for-profit organization and registered Canadian charity. Its vision is to bring people together to care for their lakes and rivers and provide healthy lakes and rivers that will support humans and wildlife for years to come.
The Carson, Trout, Lepine and Greenan Lakes Association provided expert guide services to Watersheds Canada personnel on the four lakes — we did not get lost once. In all, the shoreline on about 275 properties on the chain of lakes was studied and data was recorded. This data will be used to assess the health of the shorelines on our lakes and provide an individual report to each shoreline property owner. Reports may include recommendations to property owners for actions they may choose to take to improve their shoreline health and thus lake water quality. These reports will be available to property owners in the spring of 2019 and they are free online. “Free” is good!
As of 2017, 122 lakes had been assessed in Ontario, 15 had been assessed in Saskatchewan and 2 had been assessed in Alberta. Along with Carson, Trout, Lepine, and Greenan Lakes near Barry’s Bay, Kennebec Lake in Central Frontenac and Mazinaw Lake in the Addington Highlands north of Kaladar have been assessed in 2018.
Shoreline health is a major factor in the preservation of water quality. Vegetation naturally captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and this carbon can be stored in living plants and woody debris for decades. Natural shorelines are the best defence against erosion and they provide other benefits such as filtration of contaminants before they reach the lake, wildlife habitat, and other aesthetic values. If natural shorelines are converted to hardened or manicured shorelines, resilience to climate change is reduced. A lake benefits or suffers from the cumulative actions of all the lake users within the watershed.
To echo a famous line:
Ask not what our lakes can do for us, ask what we can do for our lakes.
Click HERE to visit www.watersheds.ca and learn more about this “Love Your Lake” program, the “Natural Edge” program and Watersheds Canada.
About the author: Al is a long time seasonal resident near Barry’s Bay. Trout are his favourite fish, though he does not fish for them through the ice. He remembers people being lifted off ice-floes on Lake Simcoe by helicopter, and now he likes to keep one foot on the shore.