7.0 Long Lake Catchment: Challenges/Issues

Specific challenges and issues noted by the Long Lake community are indicated by an asterisk.

Development

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, shoreline modifications, docks), all of which may put additional stress on the sensitive shoreline zone and the lake along with potential, added septic system loading.

Many waterfront properties contain existing non-conforming 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 the Township of Central Frontenac 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.

Headwaters/In-water Habitat/Shorelines

Walleye spawning shoals on Long Lake are beginning to show an increase in slime-like aquatic growth which may, over-in time, affect walleye breeding success. Funding demise of MNR's Community Fisheries and Wildlife Improvement Program has put plans on hold for future Long Lake fish improvement projects to tackle this.*

Long Lake residents and the lake ecosystem benefit from over four miles of undeveloped shoreline. This situation could change if the current landowners were to sell their land for waterfront development.*

Long 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 protection of the catchment’s waterbodies and watercourses, 30 metres back from the shoreline of streams, rivers and lakes (see Section 4.4 of this report).

Seven of thirty-three sampled headwater sites in the catchment have been modified (four are channelized, two are swales and one is tiled)(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 Carnahan and Long Lakes.

Lake Planning

This report outlines some issues and concerns regarding the health of the Long Lake catchment. However, there is limited knowledge of the overall issues and concerns about natural resource management along with their use and the health of Carnahan Lake, Long Lake and its watershed.

The Carnahan Lake Association and the Long Lake Association might consider working together with their lake residents to undergo the lake planning process. The lake planning process allows for valuable information about the current health of the lake and its watershed, as well as an overview of all the issues and concerns facing the lake to be collected together. The lake planning process requires involvement and input from the whole lake community which includes lake residents, users, local government, non-governmental organizations, agency partners and other stakeholders. The process ensures that the lake community’s issues and concerns are gathered into one action-oriented document, which can guide the many stakeholders that care about the lake ecosystem to help tackle lake health concerns in partnership.

Land Cover

Land cover has changed across the catchment (2008 to 2014) as a result of an increase in the area of settlement (2 ha.) and loss of woodland (2 ha.)(see Section 4.1 of this report)

Woodlands cover 20 percent of the catchment. This is below the 30 percent of forest cover that is identified as the minimum threshold for sustaining forest birds and other woodland dependent species (see Section 4.2 of this report).

Wetlands cover 21 percent (1822 ha.) of the catchment (in 2014). One hundred percent (1822 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).

Water Quality

Carnahan Lake surface chemistry water quality rating ranges from Poor to Fair (see Section 2.1 of this report).

Long Lake surface chemistry water quality rating ranges from Fair to Good (see Section 2.2 of this report).

There is concern over the increase in slime-like aquatic growth on shoreline rocks and structures in Long Lake. The RVCA annual water quality reports in the last several years indicate that 25 percent of the samples taken have a higher concentrate on nitrogen that the provincial recommended standard for recreational water quality, although the average of samples remains lower than this standard.*

Stub Creek surface chemistry water quality does not exhibit any sampling concerns (see Section 2.3 of this report).

Uens Creek surface chemistry water quality rating ranges from Poor to Fair (see Section 2.4 of this report).

Stag, Stubb and Uens Creeks instream biological water quality conditions are unavailable due to unsuitable benthic invertebrate sample locations.

No septic system re-inspection program (mandatory or voluntary) is in effect, currently.*