8.0 Otty Lake Catchment: Actions/Opportunities
Developed by the Otty Lake Association and its partners, the Otty Lake Management Plan (2008) and Five-year Review (2014) provide information on many aspects of the lake environment, as well as actions to maintain and improve the long-term health of the lake. The following list includes some of those identified actions that have implications for the land and water resources of the lake ecosystem. Specific opportunities noted by the Otty Lake community are indicated by an asterisk.
Otty Lake and Catchment Health
Work with approval authorities (Drummond/North Elmsley Township, Lanark County, Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office, RVCA and Tay Valley Township) and waterfront property owners (including the McLaren Lake community and Otty Lake Association) to consistently implement current land use planning and development policies for water quality and shoreline protection adjacent to Jebbs Creek, McLaren Lake, Otty Lake and headwater streams in the catchment (i.e., 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 in the Tay Watershed are encouraged to strengthen natural heritage and water resources official plan policies and zoning provisions (pertaining to water setbacks, frontage and naturalized shorelines and wetland protection) where deemed appropriate.
Work with Drummond/North Elmsley Township, Lanark County, Tay Valley Township and agencies to ensure that development approvals around lakes and along watercourses take into consideration the protection of fish habitat (including the near-shore nursery and spawning habitat).
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.
Utilise 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).
Use 1:100 year flood elevation information now available for Otty Lake as an additional factor to be considered when assessing development setbacks at the shoreline and protecting property owners from flood hazards.
Establish RVCA regulation limits around the 86 percent (953 ha.) of wetlands in the catchment that are unevaluated. Doing this will help protect landowners from natural hazards including mitigating surface water flow by storing water during periods of peak flow (such as spring snowmelt and heavy rainfall events) and releasing water during periods of low flow (this mitigation of water flow reduces flood damage), as well as contributing to the stabilisation of shorelines and to the reduction of soil erosion damage through water flow mitigation and plant soil binding/retention.
Implement Otty Lake shoreline improvement recommendations from the 2013 Love Your Lake Program waterfront assessments.*
Take advantage of the RVCA Shoreline Naturalization Program to re-naturalize altered creek, lake and stream shoreline identified in this report as “Unnatural Riparian Land Cover". Concentrate stewardship efforts on Otty Lake waterfront properties shown in orange on the Riparian Land Cover map (see Figure 69 in Section 4.4 in this report). Other stewardship opportunities in the catchment may be determined based on septic system inspections and surface water quality monitoring results.
Promote the use of bioengineering methods (using native shrub/tree planting, fascines, live stakes) as a shoreline erosion mitigation measure as well as a cost effective alternative to shoreline hardening (with rip rap, armour stone, gabion baskets, walls)
Educate landowners about the value and importance of natural shorelines and property best management practices with respect to shoreline use and development, septic system installation and maintenance and shoreline vegetation retention and enhancement (Drummond/North Elmsley Township, Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, McLaren Lake community, Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office, Otty Lake Landowners’ Association, RVCA and Tay Valley Township).
Consider further investigation of the 1) Fair to Good surface chemistry water quality rating on Otty Lake; 2) Poor to Fair surface chemistry water quality rating on McLaren Lake and 3) Poor to Fair instream biological water quality rating in Jebbs Creek, as part of a review of RVCA's Watershed Watch, Baseline and Benthic Invertebrate surface water quality monitoring.
Offer funding provided by the RVCA Rural Clean Water Program to landowners with potential projects that could improve water quality on McLaren, Mud and Otty Lakes and their tributaries (e.g., livestock fencing, septic system repair/replacement and streambank erosion control/stabilisation). Concentrate efforts at septic systems requiring remedial work or replacement, including the 26 identified as needing additional maintenance/remedial/replacement work since 2004.
Educate waterfront property owners about septic system care by providing information about sewage system maintenance (i.e., when to pump out septic systems and holding talks) through initiatives such as the Septic Savvy Workshop and services provided by the Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office.
Reduce pollutant loading to Otty 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 directly reaching the lake ecosystem. This will 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).
Otty Lake and Catchment Habitat
Educate waterfront property owners about: 1) fish habitat requirements, spawning timing and near-shore and in-water activities that can disturb or destroy fish habitat and spawning sites 2) the causes of excessive algae and aquatic vegetation growth (see the RVCA publication entitled Algae and Aquatic Plant Educational Manual) and 3) healthy lake ecosystems and associated water level fluctuations in a natural environment.
Work with the Otty Lake Association on fish and wildlife habitat improvement.
Otty Lake Association Leadership
Conduct a ten-year review of the Otty Lake Management Plan (2008), scheduled for completion in the summer of 2018. This review will also use a survey of lake residents and cottagers to provide feedback on topics of interest and importance and help establish opportunities for future action on Otty Lake.*
Continue the annual Otty Lake State of the Lake Report. This comprehensive report on lake health and OLA initiatives in the Lake Watershed will continue to serve as an important source of information for the lake community.*
The Otty Lake Association will lead the coordination of the implementation of the recommendations of the updated Otty Lake Management Plan (2018).*
Use the information contained in the Tay River Subwatershed Report 2017 and Otty Lake Catchment Report 2017 to assist with implementation of the updated Otty Lake Management Plan (2018).