7.0 Bobs and Crow Lake Catchments: Challenges/Issues

Developed by the Greater Bobs and Crow Lakes Association and its partners, the Stewardship Plan for Bobs and Crow Lakes (2007) provides information on many aspects of the lake environment, as well as issues of concern identified by the lake community that could threaten the long-term health of the lakes. The following list includes some of those identified issues that have implications for the land and water resources of the lake ecosystem. Specific issues noted by the lake community are indicated by an asterisk*.

Development

Municipal jurisdiction is split between the three area municipalities (South, Central Frontenac and Tay Valley), which has created some inconsistencies in land use policies and zoning requirements and the ability to implement a comprehensive septic re-inspection program.*

There are numerous valid mining claims which are a significant cause for concern for local residents, particularly as it relates to property rights and the impact of mining activity on wildlife habitat and water quality.*

Waterfront property development is occurring primarily through the transformation of traditional, seasonal cottages into larger year-round dwellings. This transition is taking place either through re-development of an existing cottage lot or incremental alterations (additions, sleeping cabins, gazebos, decks, sheds, boat houses, garages, lawns, shoreline modifications, docks), all of which may put additional stress on the sensitive shoreline zone and the lake along with potential, added septic system loading.

Many waterfront properties contain existing non-conforming dwellings with respect to minimum water frontage and lot area and are often located within 30 metres of the water that require minor variances for expansion and/or reconstruction of dwellings where standard development setbacks from water are difficult to achieve. In these cases, of which there are many, staff at South, Central Frontenac and Tay Valley Townships and the Conservation Authority often meet with resistance and push back when attempts are made to implement standards for development setbacks, vegetated shorelines and septic systems.

Monitoring implementation of conditions of planning and regulatory approvals is challenging due to a lack of resources.

Headwaters/In-water Habitat/Shorelines

Crow Lake has 70 percent of its shoreline composed of natural vegetation. This is below the 75 percent target that is recommended by experts for the protection of the catchment’s waterbodies and watercourses, 30 metres back from the shoreline of streams, rivers and lakes (see Section 4.4 of this report for more information).

Bobs and Crow Lake benefit from considerable lengths of natural shoreline. However many waterfront properties (particularly those in Buck/Mud/Long Bay and Crow Lake Village) have significant lengths of shoreline that are ornamental (see Section 4.4 of this report for more information).

Bobs Lake has seen a small increase in the area of settlement (0.79 ha.) along its shoreline between 2008 and 2014, due primarily to a loss of woodland (see Section 4.4 of this report for more information).

Crow Lake has seen a small increase in the area of settlement (0.10 ha.) along its shoreline between 2008 and 2014, due primarily to a loss of crop and pastureland (see Section 4.4 of this report for more information).

Five of 39 sampled headwater sites in the Bobs Lake catchment have been modified (four are channelized, one is a roadside ditch)(see Section 3.2.2 of this report for more information).

One of 22 sampled headwater sites in the Crow Lake catchment has been modified (i.e., is a roadside ditch)(see Section 3.3.2 of this report for more information).

Littoral zone mapping identifying substrate type, vegetation and habitat features along with opportunities for shoreline enhancement is unavailable for Bobs and Crow Lake.

Land Cover

Bobs Lake catchment land cover has changed (2008 to 2014) as a result of an increase in the area of wetland (15 ha.), settlement (5 ha.), water (4 ha.) and transportation infrastructure (2 ha.) and a loss of woodland (20 ha.), meadow-thicket (5 ha.) and crop and pastureland (1 ha.)(see Section 4.1.1 of this report for more information).

Crow Lake catchment land cover has changed (2008 to 2014) as a result of an increase in the area of wetland (5 ha.) and settlement (2 ha.) and loss of woodland (6 ha.)(see Section 4.1.2 of this report for more information).

Wetlands cover 13 percent (1789 ha.) of the Bobs Lake catchment and 18 percent (891 ha.) of the Crow Lake catchment. Eighty-two percent (1465 ha.) of the Bobs Lake catchment wetlands along with one hundred percent (891 ha.) of the Crow Lake catchment wetlands remain unevaluated and unregulated and although they are not under imminent threat from development activity, they do remain vulnerable to drainage and land clearing activities in the absence of any regulatory and planning controls that would otherwise protect them for the many important hydrological, social, biological and ecological functions/services/values they provide to landowners and the surrounding community (see Section 4.3 of this report for more information).

Water Levels

Greater Bobs and Crow Lakes Association has been concerned for many years about the operational management of the water control structure on Bobs Lake (locally none as the Bolingbroke Dam). Refurbishment of that structure (now taking place) should include a review of past water level practices guided by the Bobs Lake rule curve to better inform future operations.*

Water Quality

Bobs Lake surface chemistry water quality rating ranges from Poor to Very Good at the nine deep point monitoring sites on the lake (see Section 2.1 of this report for more information).

Crow Lake surface chemistry water quality does not exhibit any sampling concerns (see Section 2.3 of this report for more information).

Rock Lake surface chemistry water quality rating ranges from Fair to Very Good. The score at this site is largely influenced by occasional high nutrient concentrations, bacterial pollution and metal (aluminum) exceedances (see Section 2.2 of this report for more information).

Bobs and Crow Lake catchment instream biological water quality conditions are unavailable due to unsuitable benthic invertebrate sample locations.

Thirty (of 151) mandatory and voluntary septic system inspections conducted from 2004 to 2017 on Bobs Lake in South Frontenac and Tay Valley Townships revealed the need for remedial work on 27 septic systems, a septic replacement on another system along with more information to be supplied to an additional two landowners about their septic systems. Those properties with concerns are identified in the yearly report submitted by the Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office to the Townships.

No septic system re-inspection program (mandatory or voluntary) exists for Crow Lake.