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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 –

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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:

1 Rideau Lakes Watershed Plan 2005

2 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

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4 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

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6 Hydrology (cont’d)  RVCA will be undertaking numerical modeling in the future to determine the impacts of land use, dam operations, breaches, etc.

7 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

8 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

9 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

10 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

11 Rideau Lakes Watershed Land Cover Aggregated Class Area (ha) Area (%) Wetland28656 Forest, Woodland Water Cropland, Pasture, Abandoned Land Watershed total

12 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

13 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

14 Land Use  Area settled in late 1700’s. Land use primarily agriculture and logging. By 1870 the area was completely logged  Canal built  Area used for recreation since late 1890’s  Most cottage development since WWII  Now development pressure is in cottage conversions to permanent homes

15 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

16 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

17 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

18 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

19 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.

20 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

21 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

22 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

23 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

24 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

25 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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