Lake Water Quality: New Data and a Puzzle
by Ted Manning
The 2006 Watershed Watch reports are in. The
good news is that our lake is still healthy and
has changed little in the last three decades. (See
the Mississippi Conservation Authority website
at www.mvc.on.ca/water/watch.html for the full report).
While the key indicators for the lake are still
good, the results regarding acidity of the lake (or
in this case alkalinity) are puzzling. The report
shows the lake beginning the year as somewhat
alkaline but by the end of the summer reaching
a very high pH of more than 9. (rainwater falls
at about a level of 6.0-6.5) This level of
alkalinity can be dangerous for some fish
species. Another area of concern is incoming
phosphorus: while the lake overall is still OK,
some areas may not be – this is likely caused by
leakage from septic tanks and from lawn
fertilizers coming into the lake.
The study also found that, particularly late in the
year, the deeper part of the lake lacks oxygen –
forcing the fish to live in the upper parts of the
lake water. This reinforces concerns over the
lake level, and the need to be good lake
The Lake Association is starting a water
monitoring program to be done by each Lake
Association representative twice a month. The
Watershed Watch study was based mostly on
samples taken in the deepest part of the lake –
building on a thirty year record. We propose to
expand this – and make certain that we have a
good record of the condition of lake water in
each part of the lake on a regular basis. We will
be measuring lake temperature, pH, nitrate,
nitrite and total alkalinity twice each month
from May to September starting this year. This
will help us in identifying potential problems
and will add to the information available to us
in developing the lake plan.
Some Startling Data from the Lake Report
by Lorne Bowerman
Ted covered the highlights of the Lake Report.
I would like to add a few comments about one
thing that stopped me dead in my tracks while
reading the report..
Phosphorus is MVC’s “key nutrient of concern
which can cause weed and algae growth and
threatens fish habitat by reducing oxygen
One of the most startling bits of data was the
amount of phosphorus that could be
contributed to the lake by fertilizing lakeside
lawns once per year – 1960 grams out of a total
of 3355 grams in a high phosphorus lifestyle.
If you do not fertilize, the value is zero. Septic
tanks could add a little over 500 grams of the
3355 grams. So many times we think of septic
tanks and the damage they might do, but rarely
do we think of the fourfold damage from lawn
Would you trade your green lawn for green
water? Think about it. What is most
Lake Management Plan
From the initiative of our last AGM, the Board
decided to do a lake management plan for
Patterson Lake. This is a five year project. A
lot of it is data gathering.
The initial phase was started last fall with a
visioning questionnaire. It was a narrative
form with the respondents answering general
questions like what do you like about our lake,
what should be changed, what could be
improved over the next 20 years, etc.
It did not take many replies before the general
trends showed up. In a few words, Patterson
Lake is great as it is and we should do
everything to keep it that way. Amen to that.
We had a number of things highlighted like
speeding boats, septic tank cleaning, shoreline
protection, and lake levels, but no great burning
issues that requires us to rally our forces to
defend our homes and cottages.
The next phase will progress during the year
with the development of another questionnaire
on the issues raised, but this time you will be
asked to rank the importance of the issues. For
example, if one question were “Is swimming in
the lake important to you?”, then the response
choices could be all the way from Not Important
to Very Important. In due course.
OPP Lake Surveillance
The following excerpt is from an OPP/Lake
Associations Meeting May 3, 2007 with OPP
Lanark Detachment Commander Inspector
1. What are the local OPP plans for level of
effort in surveillance of local lakes and boaters
this summer? How much time/manpower do the
OPP expect to apply in being out on our lakes?
Do they intend to focus on specific lakes,
specific boat types (e.g. big and fast?)?
Inspector Salisbury said that beginning May 15
the marine officers Scott McNames and Lyndon
Murray (or whoever is covering for them on
their days off) will be out on the local lakes full
time (seven days a week) throughout the
summer. They will rotate through all the lakes.
The SAVE team will also spend some time on
local area lakes this summer. In addition to the
regular rotation of coverage on the local lakes,
any lake associations with specific concerns can
contact the OPP.
In response to the question about focusing on
specific boat types, Inspector Salisbury said that
the officers would be looking at all boat types
for all offences.
Follow-up questions from this question
· If there is no public access on a lake – how
do the OPP get on a lake? Inspector
Salisbury said that the OPP would work
with the lake association to receive
permission to use an access at a lake
resident’s boat access point.
· Are the OPP boats washed between visits
on a one lake and then another lake? –
yes, it is a provincial policy that this must
· How is boating speed determined by
OPP? – hand-held radars. The Inspector
said that most speeding violations occur
on the larger lakes like the Rideau.
· Most offences identified on lakes are
either liquor or equipment especially
inadequate # of life jackets.
· There was also a question about whose
responsibility was it to deal with
disregard for fishing bylaws. Inspector
Salisbury confirmed that it was MNR.
N.B. On occasion the OPP and MNR do
partner for patrols out on the lakes.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
The AGM of the Patterson Lake Association of
Lanark Highlands will take place on September
2, 2007 at the Watsons Corners Hall from 2:00
PM to 5:00 PM. The Hall will be opened for
registration from 1:30 to 2:00 PM. You can
save time and line-ups by pre-registering at you
road association meetings.
The 2007-2008 fees have been set at $20 per
lake or associated property. Voting at the
meeting with be by voting cards with each
registered property entitled to one card. Those
not registered will not be entitled to vote.
This Newsletter was produced by Lorne
Bowerman. Comments, suggestions, or articles