8.0 Christie Lake Catchment: Actions/Opportunities
Developed by the Christie Lake Association, Farren Lake Property Owners' Association and the Little Silver and Rainbow Lakes Property Owners Association and their partners, the Christie Lake State of the Lake Report (2009), Christie Lake Stewardship Guideline (2011) and Christie Lake Brochure (a planned 5 year update of the Lake Stewardship Guide), Farren Lake State of the Lake Report (2009) and Little Silver and Rainbow Lake Stewardship Plan (2018) 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 lake community are indicated by an asterisk.
Christie Lake and Catchment Health
Work with approval authorities (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 Christie Lake, Farren Lake and Little Silver and Rainbow Lake Associations along with the Davern Lake and O'Brien Lake communities to consistently implement current land use planning and development policies for water quality and shoreline protection on Christie Lake, Davern Lake, Farren Lake, Little Silver and Rainbow Lakes and O'Brien Lake and the Tay River 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 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.
Utilize 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).
Take advantage of the construction of the new Bolingbroke Dam to complete flood plain mapping of the entire length of the Tay River from Bobs Lake to Lower Rideau Lake. Use 1:100 year flood elevation information available for Christie Lake to complete this task for use in assessing development setbacks along the Christie Lake shoreline and protecting property owners from flood hazards.
Establish RVCA regulation limits around the 87 percent (785 ha.) of wetlands in the catchment that are unevaluated, as well as the Christie Lake Provincially Significant Wetland. 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 stabilization of shorelines and to the reduction of soil erosion damage through water flow mitigation and plant soil binding/retention.
Assess and approach waterfront property owners on Little Silver and Rainbow Lakes whose shorelines do not conform to RVCA riparian guidelines to see if remedial measures could be applied to improve conditions. Little Silver and Rainbow Lakes Property Owners Association can assist with this initiative by widely advertising the many resources available to achieve this.*
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 Christie and Farren Lake waterfront properties shown in orange on the Riparian Land Cover map (see Figure 118 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 (Christie Lake Association, Davern Lake community, Farren Lake Property Owners' Association, Lanark County, Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, Little Silver and Rainbow Lakes Property Owners Association, Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office, O'Brien Lake community, RVCA and Tay Valley Township).
The Friends of the Tay Watershed Association has cooperated with the Greater Bobs and Crow Lakes Association, Christie Lake Association, RVCA and Parks Canada in seeking a practical solution to the operational management of the Bolingbroke Dam, and the discussion is ongoing. The replacement of the Bolingbroke Dam on Bobs Lake is scheduled to be completed in 2019, and as such, the Christie Lake Association recognizes this project as a major enhancement to the operational management of water levels on Christie Lake and along the Tay River. When completed, this project can act as a catalyst to address long-standing water level issues that Christie Lake residents have had for many years.*
A community response for the need to be able to better monitor water levels along the Tay system has been the development of the Tay Net (Tay Waterway Communication Network) over the past two years by the Friends of the Tay Watershed Association to provide early notice of significant changes in water levels. Tay Net is now developing it into a ‘Riverwatch’ program for the Tay waterway.*
Little Silver and Rainbow Lakes Property Owners Association will monitor water flow and levels on Little Silver Lake to assist with the task of improving the operational functionality of the beaver baffler located at its outflow.*
Consider further investigation of the 1) Fair to Good surface chemistry water quality rating on Farren and Rainbow Lakes; 2) Fair to Very Good surface chemistry water quality rating on O'Brien Lake and 3) Fair surface chemistry water quality rating on Little Silver Lake 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 Farren, Little Silver, O'Brien and Rainbow 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 144 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 Christie, Davern, Farren, Little Silver, O'Brien and Rainbow Lakes 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).
Christie Lake and Catchment Habitat
The Christie Lake Association is attempting to raise Loon Awareness by enlisting volunteers to track loons and nesting success via the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey coordinated by Bird Studies Canada. Tracking of loons has been ongoing for years on portions of the lake. Enhancements in lake coverage have been undertaken over the last two years. The Christie Lake Association is also planning to construct and launch loon nesting platforms around Christie Lake in coming years.*
Post signs along O'Brien Lake Lanes about invasive species and educate lake residents and visitors about the effects of introducing invasive species (like zebra mussels and Eurasian milfoil into O'Brien Lake along with the steps to be taken to stop their introduction when launching personal watercraft.*
Monitor and report on invasive aquatic species (like Eurasian water milfoil) in Little Silver and Rainbow Lake; continue monitoring zebra mussels and advise on precautions to take to avoid their transfer to the lakes.*
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.
Lake Association Leadership
The Christie Lake Association is leading the coordination of the implementation of the recommendations of the 2011 Christie Lake Stewardship Guideline (LSG) and 2015 Christie Lake Brochure.
The Farren Lake Property Owners' Association is leading the coordination of the implementation of the recommendations of the Farren Lake State of the Lake Report (2009).
The Little Silver and Rainbow Lakes Property Owners Association will lead the coordination of the implementation of the recommendations of the Little Silver and Rainbow Lake Stewardship Plan (2018).
Use the information contained in the Tay River Subwatershed Report 2017 and Christie Lake Catchment Report 2017 to assist with implementation of the Christie Lake Stewardship Guideline and Christie Lake Brochure, Farren Lake State of the Lake Report and Little Silver and Rainbow Lakes Stewardship Plan.