7.0 Eagle Lake Catchment: Challenges/Issues
Developed by the Eagle Lake Property Owners’ Association and its partners, the second Eagle Lake State of the Lake Report (2015) 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 lake. The following list includes some of those identified issues that have implications for the water and land resources of the lake ecosystem. Specific issues noted by the lake community are indicated by an asterisk.
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 the Township of Central Frontenac 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.
Maintaining and enhancing Lake Trout populations at Eagle Lake (the number of fishermen trolling for Lake Trout has markedly decreased). Natural recruitment appears limited. Accumulating evidence from specific netting protocols, along with ending periodic stocking of lake trout in 1994, suggests there are decreasing numbers of Lake Trout.*
Relative to its dissolved oxygen level, Eagle Lake (but not Leggat Lake) is classified by MNR and MOE as a highly-sensitive Lake Trout lake. Its metalimnion layer where Dissolved Oxygen is above 7 mg/L (minimum for juvenile trout) has been declining in thickness with global warming, although improving slightly in 2016.*
Manual removal of the invasive European Frogbit at multiple sites has been quite successful and only minimal plants remain at limited sites. But since the 2012/2013 seasons, Purple Loosestrife has extensively recurred at Oconto Creek where it empties into Eagle Lake.*
Littoral zone mapping identifying substrate type, vegetation and habitat features along with opportunities for shoreline enhancement is unavailable for Eagle and Leggat Lake.
Wetlands cover 13 percent (437 ha.) of the catchment (in 2014). One hundred percent (437 ha.) of these 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).
Eagle Creek surface chemistry water quality rating ranges from Fair to Good (see Section 2.3 of this report).
Eagle Lake surface chemistry water quality does not exhibit any sampling concerns (see Section 2.2 of this report).
Leggat Lake surface chemistry water quality rating ranges from Fair to Good (see Section 2.1 of this report).
Eagle Creek instream biological water quality conditions range from Poor to Fair (at the Bobs Lake Road crossing)(see Section 3.3.1 of this report).
No septic system re-inspection program (mandatory or voluntary) is in effect, currently.*
Beaver dam issues continue at the CPR crossing downstream of the MNR control structure on Eagle Creek. Further improvements to lake level control can only be achieved if flow along Eagle Creek can be stabilized by controlling beaver activities.*
The 1:100 year flood elevation is unavailable for Eagle Lake. It can be utilized as an additional factor to be considered when assessing site specific development setbacks.