6.0 Elbow Lake Catchment: Accomplishments
Developed by the Elbow Lake (Parham) Association and its partners, the Elbow Lake Stewardship Plan (2012) provides 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 Elbow Lake Association and residents that have implications for the well-being of the land and water resources of the lake ecosystem. Specific achievements of the Elbow Lake community are indicated by an asterisk.
Elbow Lake and Catchment Health
In 2013, an assessment of the Elbow Lake shoreline was carried out under the Love Your Lake Program. Individual assessment reports were made available to property owners in the spring of 2014. To date, only 39 of the 72 reports have been ordered (although it should be noted that 11 of the 72 properties are undeveloped). In 2017, the Elbow Lake Association decided to help fund the (re)printing of all 72 reports and will deliver them to property owners in 2018 along with information about the RVCA's Shoreline Naturalization Program.*
Out of the 72 properties assessed under the Love Your Lake Program, 28 (39 percent) were classified as majority ornamental, 23 (32 percent) as majority natural and 21 (29 percent) as majority regenerative. It is recognized that ornamental or degraded waterfronts will contribute additional nutrients and sediments to a waterbody such as Elbow Lake.
In 2015, while carrying out a live planting on one resident’s property, RVCA presented a short workshop on shoreline naturalization. As a follow-up, the Elbow Lake Association appointed a coordinator to help organize RVCA site visits for residents and has been promoting the Program at its AGM's. To date, another seven properties have had site visits. In addition, at least three others have agreed to planting plans in the course of obtaining building permits to replace their cottages with new homes. One of these was for a new home on the site of a small campground, which was the only commercial development on the lake and has now been removed.*
426 native trees and shrubs have been planted at five project sites by the RVCA’s Shoreline Naturalization Program at an average buffer width of five metres along 100 metres of shoreline.
Elbow Lake is sampled yearly by the RVCA for five parameters, four times a year along with one stream sampling site on Fish Creek being sampled for 22 parameters, six times a year to assess surface chemistry water quality conditions.
One Ontario Benthic Biomonitoring Network site on Fish Creek is sampled by the RVCA with three replicates to assess instream biological water quality conditions.
Two Rural Clean Water Program projects were completed by the RVCA Rural Clean Water Program.
Township of Central Frontenac will implement a septic re-inspection program (mandatory/voluntary) in 2019. The service is to be provided by the Mississippi-Rideau Septic System Office.
Elbow Lake and Catchment Habitat
Broad-scale Fish Community Monitoring
2012 fish survey was conducted by the Frontenac Stewardship Council at the request of the Lake Steward in order to establish a baseline for determining the success of any future fish enhancement project. Specimens were sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources for aging, etc. The 2017 fish survey was conducted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.*
Walleye Spawning Enhancement Project
With funding from the Ministry of Natural Resources, a group of volunteer lake residents in 2013 hauled cobblestone onto the winter ice in order to improve the potential of the walleye spawning bed. The results of the 2017 fish survey will help to evaluate the success of this effort.*
2.7 kilometres of Fish Creek are surveyed and 27 headwaters sites are sampled by the RVCA Stream Characterization Program.
Elbow Lake Association Leadership
The Elbow Lake (Parham) Stewardship Plan was published in spring 2012 and distributed to all property owners. It was also presented to the Township of Central Frontenac Council in the fall. Since then, projects and issues related to the Plan’s five main objectives have been discussed annually at the Lake Association’s Annual General Meeting.These objectives are to: 1) maintain and improve water quality 2) maintain and improve wildlife and fish habitat 3) preserve peace and tranquility 4) emphasize safety in the pursuit of recreational opportunities and 5) strengthen a sense of community.*
Liaison with Other Lake Associations
The Elbow Lake Association continues to liaise with other local lake associations through its participation in the Lake Networking Group.*