A BIT ABOUT US
The Environment Council for Clear, Ston(e)y and White Lakes is a volunteer, non-profit group. Our goal is to preserve and enhance the sustainability of the local watershed environment for future generations of humans and wildlife.
AQUATIC ECOSYSTEM MONITORING
Climate change, invasive species (Starry stonewort), nutrients, contaminants and human stressors are all affecting the health of our lakes. Ecosystem monitoring will help us understand these impacts and ultimately help us reduce or reverse them.
With the generous financial support of our lake associations, the Federation of Ontario Cottage Associations (FOCA), and most significantly the Stony Lake Heritage Foundation, and in collaboration with multiple partners (First Nations, universities, colleges, government, other environmental organizations) we are launching some significant aquatic monitoring projects. Click Proposal below for full details.
Environmental Challenges, Successes & A Path Forward
COVID has had far reaching effects on our everyday lives including our passion for protecting the environment. In addition to COVID, the outbreak of Gypsy Moth, spring algal blooms and the threat of further spread of Starry Stonewort has caused a high level of anxiety amongst the lake community. Unfortunately, Starry Stonewort will not be eradicated and it will alter and impact our natural ecosystems. This along with shoreline development, pesticide use, nutrient loading, multiple invasive species and climate change all have combined and cumulative effects on aquatic ecosystem health. Those of us who have been around the lake as children can see obvious signs of stress on the lakes including a decline in biodiversity of our fisheries, turtles and frogs, increases in invasive species (e.g., zebra mussel, Starry stonewort, Eurasian water-milfoil etc.) and changes in water levels and quality (e.g., increased size and frequency algal blooms that are occurring earlier in the spring). It is no longer effective to manage a response that focuses on a single species such as starry stonewort.
Despite these many challenges EC has launched the pilot year of an Aquatic Ecosystem Monitoring Program for Clear, Stoney and White Lakes, as well as a volunteer Lake Guardian program to engage college and university students to do monitoring in these lakes. We have engaged science experts from Fleming College and Trent University to provide advice and design of defensible monitoring programs. In addition, we have developed a 'Best Management Practices to Control the Spread of Starry Stonewort' and shared this along with expert advice from Dr. Brian Ginn about the impacts of it on Lake Simcoe. We have also increased our communications to provide current information through our website, instagram and zoom calls with experts on these current environmental topics and issues. As well, the Stony Lake Heritage Foundation has set up a separate "Aquatic Ecosystem Monitoring Fund" that has already received many generous donations to support the Lake Guardians and monitoring programs underway this summer. Local business owners like Julie and Kevin Drain at Pine Vista and Percy Little at Little's Marina have been working with us to support our efforts and to help find solutions. The response of the lake and broader community has been overwhelmingly positive.
Our goal is to design and implement an aquatic ecosystem monitoring program to help inform actions to mitigate multiple impacts and sustain and protect healthy aquatic ecosystems for future generations. Engaging youth and the Lake Guardians is an important part of our path forward for renewal. This will help to build youth involvement, social science and natural science capacity needed now and in future generations to protect healthy aquatic ecosystems. We will also be engaging input from the current EC membership, including lake associations, municipalities, Conservation Authorities, FOCA and several other partner organizations on how to renew EC executive and broader membership to be more effective in addressing the many challenges we face. An EC meeting is being planned for the 3rd or 4th week of October to share our successes from this season and to engage input on how to improve the structure and functions of EC going forward. Also this fall we will be collaborating with the Stony Lake Heritage Foundation to promote a fundraising campaign to seek donations to the Aquatic Ecosystem Monitoring Fund for 2021 and beyond.
Chair, Environment Council
The latest on the issues affecting property owners and visitors to our lakes.
SSW 101. Plus our plans for monitoring, mapping and managing this aggressive invasive macro algae. CLICK HERE to read our recently developed Best Management Practices (BMP).
They're an unpleasant and potentially dangerous fact of life. What should you do if you find them on you or your pet?
Algae is a natural part of our aquatic ecosystem. Should we be worried if we're seeing more of it earlier in the season?
It's a big year for this destructive pest. Find out how to deal with it.
Looking at the ecological impacts of winter drawdown and extreme fluctuations in Spring lake levels.
Meet the incredible team of passionate young people who are making a difference on our lakes this summer.
Research | Education | Action
The EC works to ensure that community members and local leaders have the knowledge and opportunity to contribute to the environmental well being of our local watershed. Our efforts to secure a sustainable future for our lakes and for the people who love them focus on three main areas: research, education, action.
From water quality studies to shoreline restoration we are committed to protecting our water
DISSOLVED OXYGEN SAMPLING
Wondering how climate change affects our water? So were we. So, with the support of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Environment Council is conducting Dissolved Oxygen tests at three deep water sites on Upper Stoney, Stony, and Clear Lakes.
Old and faulty septic systems and holding tanks pollute lake water and pose significant threats to human health. They discharge nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, and can contaminate surface and groundwater resources.
MONITORING MUNICIPAL PLANNING + DEVELOPMENT
In our experience, partnership paves the way to positive change. We value our connections with other local environmental stewardship organizations, our generous funding sponsors and government agencies. At the municipal level, EC has contributed to the Peterborough County Official Plan Amendment process, monitored potential large-scale development projects on our lakes — advocating for rigorous environmental assessment and wetland protections — and campaigned for septic re-inspections.
A natural shoreline is a healthy shoreline. That's because it slows down nutrient runoff, reduces erosion, and provides food and shelter for fish and other wildlife. When you alter a natural shoreline – even with the best intentions – you upset a delicate and essential balance.