6.0 Eagle Lake Catchment: Accomplishments
Developed by the Eagle Lake Property Owners' Association and its partners, the State of the Lake Report - Eagle Lake (2010) and State of the Lake Report - Eagle Lake Update 2015 provide information on many aspects of the lake environment, as well as issues of concern and actions to be taken to maintain and improve the long-term health of the lake. The following list includes some of the accomplishments of the Eagle Lake Property Owners' Association and residents that have implications for the well-being of the land and water resources of the lake ecosystem. Specific achievements of the Eagle Lake community are indicated by an asterisk.
Eagle Lake and Catchment Health
190 native trees and shrubs have been planted by the RVCA Shoreline Naturalization Program at an average buffer width of three metres along 106 metres of shoreline.
Shoreline Vegetation Survey
Mapping of the abundance of aquatic plants was carried out along the shoreline of Eagle Lake in September 2015, as part of a Carleton University - RVCA sponsored research project.*
2000 trees have been planted at two sites in the Eagle Lake catchment by the RVCA Private Land Forestry Program, resulting in the reforestation of one hectare.
As part of the Butternut Tree Recovery Program sponsored by RVCA, six saplings were planted at two locations at the north end of the lake in 2016 and a further 21 at six different sites in 2017.*
Access to the CPR culvert and associated beaver dam on Eagle Creek was obtained from South Frontenac Township in September 2015. A local contractor was subsequently hired to regularly remove the beaver dam located at the opening of the culvert running below the CPR track over Eagle Creek and also to maintain two additional beaver dams along Eagle Creek south of the CPR track. These recent steps and regular trips made by Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (MNRF) staff to adjust the outflow through the control dam have gradually stabilized the level of Eagle Lake.*
MNRF staff from Kingston office repaired concrete foundation of the control dam in 2016 and will provide further improvements to the dam and an additional staff gauge in 2019 to enable better control of lake levels. At that time, a HOBO gauge was installed by the province to further enable control of seasonal lake levels, which now allows MNRF staff to see when the creek;s water level has risen, indicating that some action should be considered to restore normal seasonal lake water levels. The gauge provides continuous monitoring of water levels and temperature with data access via a satellite feed available online.*
In 2010, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority installed a water level gauge on a lakeshore property that is regularly monitored by the land owner with data provided to RVCA.*
To better manage water levels, in 2018 a site-visit consultation was arranged with Ducks Unlimited for possible installation of a beaver baffler at the largest beaver dam on Eagle Creek. An equipment/installation quotation was provided by this organization.*
RVCA derived water quality data for Leggat Lake was included in the 2015 State of the Lake Report (it has no lake association but flows into Eagle Lake).*
Microscopic examination, following a filamentous green algal bloom in Curl’s Bay in 2016 on Eagle Lake, reveals many types of green algae as well as 10 species of cyanobacteria, some of which can produce toxins.*
Township of Central Frontenac will implement a septic re-inspection program (mandatory/voluntary) in 2019. The initial phase will involve lake-front properties at Eagle Lake. The service is to be provided by the Mississippi-Rideau Septic System Office.
In the summer of 2014, using a commercially operated barge pump-out service, six water access-only property owners voluntarily had their septic tanks emptied and inspected. RKY Camp completed an extensive septic system treatment replacement in 2018.*
Eagle Lake and Leggat Lake are each sampled yearly by the RVCA for five parameters, four times a year along with one stream sampling site on Eagle Creek being sampled for 22 parameters, six times a year to assess surface chemistry water quality conditions.
One Ontario Benthic Biomonitoring Network site on Eagle Creek is sampled yearly by the RVCA with three replicates to assess instream biological water quality conditions.
One Rural Clean Water Program project has been completed by the RVCA Rural Clean Water Program.
Eagle Lake and Catchment Habitat
Broad-Scale Fish Community Monitoring
Eagle Lake has been designated by MNRF as one of the Ontario lakes to be assessed every five years through their broad-scale monitoring program. At Eagle Lake, fish population census was assessed through multiple site nettings in both 2008 and 2014 with 14 species identified. In 2008, five Lake Trout were netted (one approximately 25 years old), but none in the 2014 netting series.
A photographic documentation of Eagle Creek Dragonflies and Damselflies has identified 28 species of dragonflies and 13 different damselflies. The variety and numbers indicate favourable water quality as the aquatic stage of their life-cycle is sensitive to pollution.*
Eagle Lake Research
For a number of years, Department of Civil Engineering staff and students at Queen’s University (one staff member with a family cottage at Eagle Lake) collected data from a buoy anchored at the deep point, installed a weather station on a small island, and obtained a lake-bottom sediment core. Information from this type of data, along with RVCA water quality results from Eagle Lake, has resulted in three published scientific papers and two MSc theses.*
An illustrated catalogue of Wildflowers of the Eagle Lake Region consisting of over 400 wildflowers, shrubs, ferns and grasses in the immediate area of Eagle Lake has been developed. A university student living at Eagle Lake has collected and archived 100 marsh, wetland and shoreline plant species in the local environment. Some of the various trees at Eagle Lake have been documented.*
Eagle Creek drone videos were taken in September 2017 by staff and students of Granite Ridge Education Centre in Sharbot Lake along with an additional drone survey carried out in March 2018 of an area of the creek with a large beaver dam . These provide better appreciation of the topography of this region as it is not readily accessible and locates beaver lodges and dams. GIS mapping files are also available as part of this project.*
In 2009, it was noted that a number of Great Blue Herons had established a communal nesting site at the north end of the lake. Herons normally nest in trees, and there have been up to 13 nests at this site. Generally, each nest contains two to three chicks.*
2.7 kilometres of Eagle Creek have been surveyed and 14 headwaters sites were sampled by the RVCA Stream Characterization Program.
Invasive Species Control
For a number of years, Purple Loosestrife was controlled by a combination of manual removal and introduction of the beetle Neogalerucella calmariensis, but has since recurred mainly at one site and requires reintroduction of this beetle species. European Frogbit has been adequately controlled at numerous sites.. From 2010 to 2015, a concerted effort was made to manually cull this species at a number of sites. Volunteers from the Eagle Lake Property Owners’ Association, counsellors from RKY Camp, and high-school students with the Stewardship Rangers Program manually removal large quantities of this plant. As a result, only small numbers of European Frogbit plants remain at one or two locations.*
Lake Partner Program
This sampling of lake water for Total Phosphorus and Secchi disk depth takes place each May in 550 Ontario lakes. It is sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation & Parks. Volunteers at Eagle Lake have sampled annually since 1996. Results have been consistently favourable.*
Lake Trout Population Monitoring
A summer protocol of setting gill nets at 30 different locations was carried out by MNRF to assess the status of the Lake trout population in a 2016 survey. No Lake Trout were netted, a result of some concern. A spring-time netting protocol (also with 30 gill nets) performed in 1999 netted 54 Lake Trout (only one natural fish).*
Through a Common Loon survey coordinator and volunteers, Eagle Lake has a record of 18 years of Common Loon monitoring data including breeding pair success in raising chicks. During that time frame, there have been 74 pairs observed, resulting in 45 chicks surviving a minimum of 6 weeks; a reasonable success rate. Results are provided annually to the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey, a program of Birds Studies Canada.*
Eagle Lake Property Owners' Association Leadership
In 2015, a five year review of the State of the Lake Report - Eagle Lake (2010) was undertaken resulting in the publication of the second State of the Lake Report - Eagle Lake Update 2015: Part 1 and State of the Lake Report - Eagle Lake Update 2015: Part 2.*
Liaison with Other Lake Associations
The Eagle Lake Property Owners' Association continues to liaise with other local lake associations through its participation in the Lake Networking Group.*