Presentation on theme: "Rideau Lakes Watershed Plan 2005. The Rideau Lakes Watershed Is 50 km long Covers an area of 490 km 2 Has 25 lakes (127 km 2 ) 3 communities –"— Presentation transcript:
The Rideau Lakes Watershed Is 50 km long Covers an area of 490 km 2 Has 25 lakes (127 km 2 ) 3 communities – Westport, Newboro, Portland, 5 municipalities and 3 counties Has its headwaters at Long Pond Lake Outlets at Poonamalie Dam Has one major tributary – the Tay River
Hydrology Watershed has 5 dams: Wolfe Lake, Westport Sand, Westport, Narrows and Poonamalie Water levels fluctuate 1.0m Water level data collected at Wolfe, Big and Lower Rideau No flow data collected No estimate of water budget
Hydrology (cont’d) RVCA will be undertaking numerical modeling in the future to determine the impacts of land use, dam operations, breaches, etc.
Fish and Wildlife Limited data available for fish Many fish inventories done in early 70’s, little since in smaller lakes Upper Rideau netting surveys in 2002 indicate decreases in N. Pike, Sm Bass, Yellow Perch and Walleye communities Walleye #’s extremely low due to loss of habitat, water quality, introduction of invasive species, over-fishing
Fish and Wildlife (cont’d) Big Rideau Lake is a Class 1 fishery (cold and warm water, good for sport fishing) 9 species stocked in 130 years Netting in late 90’s reveals mostly N. Pike and Y. Perch, very few Trout, very few Walleye Presently collecting benthic data for water quality
Fish and Wildlife (cont’d) 2 Commercial Fishing licenses in watershed License is for panfish e.g. bluegill, rock bass MNR reports healthy, diverse panfish fishery and will continue to support commercial fishery license. MNR will monitor fishery and operation of fishermen
Fish and Wildlife (cont’d) 31 species at risk in watershed 7 invasive species recorded 4 Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest 10 Provincially Significant wetlands No information on shoreline health 1673 different species of plants, animals, fish, birds, etc. No analysis of old growth forest
Rideau Lakes Watershed Land Cover Aggregated Class Area (ha) Area (%) Wetland28656 Forest, Woodland 2299951 Water1190226 Cropland, Pasture, Abandoned Land 722016 Watershed total 44988100
Groundwater Very little is known about groundwater quality or quantity on a watershed basis Westport has 2 municipal wells of good supply and quality Groundwater studies have been done on a regional scale and provide little to watershed level study No known water quality or quantity problems
Groundwater (cont’d) Most domestic water comes from Precambrian bedrock Overburden is thin therefore aquifers are vulnerable to contamination from surface (i.e. linked to land use) Extraction has increased recently (last 40 years) due to shoreline development
Land Use Area settled in late 1700’s. Land use primarily agriculture and logging. By 1870 the area was completely logged Canal built 1826-1832 Area used for recreation since late 1890’s Most cottage development since WWII Now development pressure is in cottage conversions to permanent homes
Land Use (cont’d) Environmental stressors associated with over-use, smaller lots, denuded lots, shoreline erosion, poor land management practices Population (in 3 counties) expected to increase 20% over next 25 years
Land Use (cont’d) Some municipalities have a higher seasonal than permanent population Only Westport on municipal water and sewer. Rest of watershed is private wells, lake and septics Westport has snowfluent system (1995)– removes 100% of nutrients and bacteria No direct discharge to lake
Land Use (cont’d) The aesthetics to URL improved Operation is in compliance with MoE regulations. Health risks eliminated Watershed governed by mix of federal, provincial, municipal and county agencies 5 municipalities govern development in watershed. OP policies inconsistent
Land Use (cont’d) Mineral Rights: mining companies have right to lay claim on properties without owners knowledge/permission Prospectors can excavate 1000 tonnes of materials with 24 hours notice and surface strip within 100m of waterbody
Tourism and Recreation Is a major recreation/tourism destination in Eastern Ontario Rideau watershed caters to day trippers Watershed home to marinas, campgrounds, trailer parks, conservation areas, provincial park, festivals, art shows, fishing tournaments, golf courses, trails, etc.
Tourism and Recreation (cont’d) Lanark: 50% of tax base is tourism, generating $63M per year Future tourism pressures expected as Canal celebrates 175 th birthday and becomes UNESCO site in 2007
Surface Water Quality Of the 25 lakes, no data on 14, very little on 5, enough on 6 to make an assessment Data inconsistent in frequency, parameter and quality therefore difficult to determine trends/general statements Data collected for TP, TKN, chlor a and clarity (secchi disk) Lakes mostly “middle-aged” with aquatic vegetation filling in shallow areas
Water Quality (cont’d) Lakes are affected by invasive species such as zebra mussels, spiny water flea Tributaries (four major) are adding high levels of nutrients Adrains Creek adding high levels of nutrients, likely due to agricultural activity and aluminum and iron
Water Quality (cont’d) Westport Sand Lake, Upper and Big Rideau Lakes seem to be improving in clarity and levels of nutrients Lakes are generally healthy but need more data/monitoring Need to investigate/monitor sources of impairment
Summary and Conclusions Tourism and Recreation is main economic activity Watershed is a “managed” system Environmental stressors from the amount of people living in and visiting watershed, over-fishing, poor environmental practices on behalf of dwellers and visitors As populations increase, stressors increase
Summary and Conclusions (cont’d) Trend toward cottage conversions can have impacts on ecosystem health Water quality generally good More data/studies needed on almost all aspects of watershed health to identify level of health and trends over time
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