7.0 Christie Lake Catchment: Challenges/Issues
Developed by the Christie Lake Association, the 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 2015 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 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, docks), all of which may put additional stress on the protective, shoreline zone around the lake along with potential, added septic system loading. These concerns have been noted on Farren and O'Brien Lakes with the conversion of cottages to homes and the lack of appropriate development setbacks from the lake.*
Many waterfront properties contain existing non-complying 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 Tay Valley Township 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.
Invasive species monitoring on Little Silver and Rainbow Lakes identified an incidence of zebra mussels in 2016.*
Major concern about the introduction of zebra mussels and eurasian milfoil into O'Brien Lake. Both are found in Christie and Farren Lakes, The likelihood of their spread to O'Brien Lake is compounded by lake residents allowing lake visitors to launch their personal watercraft from private property.*
Address the effect of boating (i.e., Seadoos) on the natural environment of O'Brien Lake, which is too small for this type of watercraft.*
Christie Lake has 68 percent of its shoreline composed of natural vegetation. This is below the 75 percent target that is recommended by experts for the catchment’s waterbodies, 30 metres back from the shoreline of streams, rivers and lakes (see Section 4.4 of this report).
Farren Lake has 67 percent of its shoreline composed of natural vegetation. This is below the 75 percent target that is recommended by experts for the catchment’s waterbodies, 30 metres back from the shoreline of streams, rivers and lakes (see Section 4.4 of this report).
A small increase in the area of settlement and roads (0.48 ha.) along the shoreline of Christie Lake has been detected between 2008 and 2014, due primarily to a loss of woodland (see Section 4.4 of this report).
One of twenty-nine sampled headwater sites in the catchment has been modified (i.e., channelized)(see Section 3.4.2 of this report).
Littoral zone mapping identifying substrate type, vegetation and habitat features along with opportunities for shoreline enhancement is unavailable for Christie, Davern, Farren, Little Silver,O'Brien and Rainbow Lakes.
The Christie Lake Association 2009 State of the Lake Report, 2011 Lake Stewardship Guideline (LSG) and 2015 Christie Lake Brochure (a planned 5 year update of the Lake Stewardship Guide) have been consistent in identification of the lake community's seven core issues. Water Quality has always been at the top of the list while others have changed in priority. The following priorities reflect those issues as identified by the lake community in 2015: 1) Water Quality 2) Wildlife Conservation 3) Building a Sense of Community 4) Fisheries 5) Watercraft Safety 6) Shoreline Naturalization and 7) Development Pressures.*
Land cover has changed across the catchment (2008 to 2014) as a result of an increase in the area of settlement (2 ha.) and wetland (1 ha.) and loss of woodland (2 ha.) and crop and pastureland (1 ha)(see Section 4.1 of this report for more information)(see Section 4.1 of this report).
Wetlands have declined by four percent since European pre-settlement and now cover 14 percent (905 ha.) of the catchment (in 2014). Eighty-seven percent (785 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).
Christie Lake Association needs confirmation of the 1:100 year flood level on Christie Lake.*
Fluctuating water levels remain an issue for Christie Lake residents. This has been linked to the operation of the Bolingbroke Dam on Bobs Lake and as such, the Christie Lake Association questions the current rule curve for Bobs Lake.*
Water levels are a big concern on O'Brien Lake with a beaver dam controlling lake flows.*
Effort is required to maintain the beaver baffler system on Little Silver Lake to ensure good flow and avoid excessive high water levels without increasing the risk of very low levels with a consequential effect on the lake ecosystem.*
Farren and O'Brien Lakes are some of the smaller lakes in the Christie Lake catchment with many older cottages and aging septic systems built very close to their shorelines. Lake residents believe that these factors are largely responsible for the reported water quality problems, which presents a difficult problem for both lake communities and Tay Valley Township to address and what to do about it.*
No apparent surface chemistry water quality concerns in Christie and Davern Lake and on the Tay River within the catchment.
Farren Lake surface chemistry water quality rating ranges from Fair to Good (see Section 2.3 of this report for more information).
Little Silver Lake surface chemistry water quality rating is Fair (see Section 2.1 of this report for more information).
O'Brien Lake surface chemistry water quality rating ranges from Fair to Very Good (see Section 2.4 of this report for more information).
Rainbow Lake surface chemistry water quality rating ranges from Fair to Good (see Section 2.2 of this report for more information).