Open menu

Prepared by the Otter Lake Landowners’ Association and its partners, the Otter Lake Sustainable Lake Plan (2015) outlines eight goals, 19 objectives and 79 action items identified by the lake community to maintain and improve the health of the Otter Lake watershed. 

The following section includes some of those identified action items taken from that document (as identified by an asterisk), which have implications for the sustainable use and management of the water resources of Otter Lake and RVCA’s monitoring, reporting, planning/regulations and stewardship programs. Refer to the Otter Lake Sustainable Lake Plan for a complete list of all actions listed in that document.

7. Opportunities/Actions

Water Quality

  • Continue to monitor E. coli, Nitrogen and Phosphorous levels in Otter Lake in conjunction with the RVCA and seek no net increase in their levels over time. Aim for the OLLA target of: less than 5 CFU/100ml for E.coli; less than 10 micrograms for Phosphorous and between 200 to 500 µg/L for Nitrogen and report surface water quality results back to the Otter Lake community*
  • Consider expansion of surface water quality testing to include periodic sampling of the in/outflow creeks of Otter Lake*
  • Review RVCA Watershed Watch monitoring of surface water quality on Otter Lake
  • Continue to promote the voluntary septic system re-inspection program that the Township of Rideau Lakes introduced in 2007*
  • Work with the Township of Rideau Lakes to establish a mandatory sewage system inspection program on Otter Lake with an associated educational program and seek funding to provide financial assistance to landowners for repair or upgrades to their systems*
  • Continue to offer septic repair/replacement project funding provided by the Rideau Valley Rural Clean Water Program to landowners
  • Educate the Otter Lake community about septic system care by providing information about sewage system maintenance (i.e., when to pump out septic systems and holding talks)
  • Continue efforts to reduce pollutant loadings to Otter Lake through education about the application of shoreline, stormwater and agricultural best management practices; also consider using low impact development (LID) methods to improve the quality and reduce the amount of stormwater runoff reaching the lake ecosystem. This may be particularly beneficial in areas with extensive impervious surfaces (i.e., asphalt, concrete, buildings, and severely compacted soils) or on sensitive waterfront properties (with steep slopes/banks, shallow/impermeable soils)
  • Continue efforts to identify pollution sources along Otter Creek that may be contributing to the poor benthic invertebrate rating and reduce the frequently high nutrient concentrations and bacterial counts and occasional metal exceedances through ongoing monitoring and implementation of best management practices such as diverting runoff, enhancing shoreline buffers, limiting the use of fertilizers and pesticide applications and restricting livestock access 
  • Continue to promote the protection of the water resources of Otter Lake and Creek and its tributaries through implementation of municipal and agency land use planning and development policies and practices


  • Collectively work with approval authorities (Township of Rideau Lakes, Conservation Authority, the Health Unit and Mississippi-Rideau Septic System Office) and the Otter Lake Landowners’ Association to consistently implement current land use planning and development policies for water quality and shoreline protection adjacent to Otter Lake and Creek and other catchment streams (e.g., a minimum 30 metre development setback from water)
  • Explore ways and means to more effectively enforce and implement conditions of land-use planning and development approval to achieve net environmental gains (particularly with respect to rehabilitating or protecting naturally vegetated shorelines and water quality)
  • Encourage Committees of Adjustment to take advantage of technical and environmental information and recommendations forthcoming from planning and environmental professionals
  • Municipalities and agencies are encouraged to strengthen natural heritage and water resources official plan policies and zoning provisions (water setbacks, frontage and naturalized shorelines and wetland protection) where deemed appropriate
  • Municipal and agency planners together with development proponents are to use the 2014 Site Evaluation Guidelines to inform decision-making about the application of development setbacks on lots with shallow soils/bedrock, steep slopes and sparse vegetation cover along with the use of the appropriate, development related, best management practices
  • Utilize RVCA subwatershed and catchment reports to help develop/revise official plan policies to protect surface water resources and the natural environment (including woodlands, wetlands and shoreline cover)
  • Consider establishing RVCA regulations limits to protect additional wetlands


  • Provide property owners with an assessment of the condition of their shoreline and recommendations for improvement using the results of the 2015 Otter Lake Shoreline Assessment*
  • Partner with the RVCA to promote its Shoreline Naturalization Program to re-naturalize altered shoreline*
  • RVCA and its partners (Rideau Lakes Township and the Otter Lake Landowners’ Association) are to continue educating landowners about the value and importance of headwater drainage features, natural shorelines and waterfront property best management practices with respect to shoreline use and development, septic system installation and maintenance and shoreline vegetation retention and enhancement
  • Protect the riparian buffer along the shoreline of Otter Lake and Otter Creek and other catchment streams (headwaters) during the development approvals process through adherence to and enforcement of municipal land-use policies and zoning standards
  • Target shoreline restoration at sites identified in this report (shown as “Other riparian land cover” in Figure 38 and “Potential Riparian/Shoreline Restoration” in Figure 77) and explore other restoration and enhancement opportunities along Otter Creek and its tribuatries

Water Levels

  • Establish a standard water level monitoring location on Otter Lake along with a “benchmark” water level and the authority responsible for measurements and continue with water level monitoring and reporting to the community*
  • Continue to leave to the forces of nature the natural flow of water into and out of Otter Lake, except in the case of expected high spring water levels, in which case the help of the RVCA and the Otter Creek Beaver Management Group may be needed to lower the beaver dams to increase the outflow of water through Otter Creek*
  • Communicate to the lake community any water level actions taken by the Beaver Management Group*
  • Continue to monitor if there is a need for greater water out flow capacity from Otter Lake than is currently provided by the existing culvert under the Otter Lake Road*

Aquatic Plants

  • Establish a volunteer-based aquatic invasive species (AIS) monitoring program and participate in the AIS Monitoring System to assist with early detection and management
  • Provide information about aquatic invasive species and the pathways for introduction along with AIS signage at the boat launch area off Highway 15*

Aquatic Habitat/Fisheries/wildlife

  • Request the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to conduct a fish population assessment for Otter Lake*
  • Evaluate the littoral zone of Otter Lake identifying opportunities for shoreline enhancements to help protect and enhance the resident fish population and its aquatic habitat
  • Educate Otter Lake shoreline owners and visitors about fish habitat requirements, spawning schedules and near-shore and in-water activities that can disturb or destroy fish habitat and spawning sites, as well as the importance of re/naturalized shorelines*
  • Educate Otter Lake shoreline residents about best management practices to deal with species such as Canada Geese (e.g. replace grassy areas with native ground cover and shrubs)*

Lake Planning

  • Implement on a priority basis the identified actions listed in the Otter Lake Sustainable Lake Plan