8.0 Pike Lake Catchment: Actions/Opportunities

Developed by the Pike Lake Community Association and its partners, the Report on the State of Pike Lake and its Watershed (2009) and the Keeping Pike Lake Healthy Stewardship Handbook (2011) provide information on many aspects of the lake environment, as well as actions and opportunities to maintain and improve the long-term health of the lake. The following list includes some of those identified actions and opportunities that have implications for the land and water resources of the lake ecosystem. Specific actions and opportunities noted by the Pike Lake community are indicated by an asterisk.

Pike Lake and Catchment Health

Development

Work with approval authorities (Lanark County, Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office, Rideau Lakes and Tay Valley Townships) and waterfront property owners (including the Crosby Lake Association, Little Crosby Lake community, Pike Lake Community Association and RVCA) to consistently implement current land use planning and development policies for water quality and shoreline protection adjacent to Crosby, Little Crosby and Pike Lakes 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, Rideau Lakes and Tay Valley Townships 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).

Establish RVCA regulation limits around the 65 percent (792 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 stabilization of shorelines and to the reduction of soil erosion damage through water flow mitigation and plant soil binding/retention.

Shorelines

Pike Lake Community Association will continue to promote the RVCA Shoreline Naturalization Program because well-vegetated shorelines are one of the most effective ways to protect water quality. Planting shrubs and plants - which won’t block the lake view - will:*

  • trap runoff and excess nutrients
  • discourage growth of algae and aquatic plants
  • provide shelter and food for wildlife
  • support spawning beds for fish
  • shade and cool water
  • reduce erosion

Identify possible demonstration sites (i.e., crown or private land volunteered by landowner) for shoreline naturalization. Pike Lake Community Association could provide volunteers to do the plantings and follow-up monitoring.*

Host plant day to promote naturalized shorelines and to make native plants accessible to the Pike Lake Community Association membership.*

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 Crosby Lake and Pike Lake waterfront properties shown in orange on the Riparian Land Cover map (see Figure 44 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 (Crosby Lake Association, Lanark County, Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, Little Crosby Lake community, Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office, Pike Lake Community Association, Rideau Lakes, RVCA and Tay Valley Townships).

Water Quality

Pike Lake Community Association (PLCA) will continue to work with the RVCA Watershed Watch Program to collect and analyse water samples every summer - a critical tool in tracking the health of the lake - and report the results to the PLCA through the Pike Lake Post and the PLCA website. A follow-up on the results will occur as appropriate, as well as examining the merits of increasing the number of sites sampled.*

Continue to educate landowners about the causes of excessive algae and aquatic vegetation growth and the need to reduce total phosphorus inputs to Pike Lake through good stewardship practices.* 

Examine value of further partnering with a data management organisation (e.g., Water Rangers) to have data mapped and easily accessible to Pike Lake Community Association membership and the public.*

Provide a summary of outcomes of voluntary and mandatory septic re-inspection programs on catchment lakes over a five year period.*

Consider further investigation of the 1) Fair surface chemistry water quality rating on Little Crosby Lake and 2) Fair to Good surface chemistry water quality rating on Crosby Lake as part of a review of RVCA's Watershed Watch, Baseline and Benthic Invertebrate surface water quality monitoring.

Promote the septic system re-inspection program offered by the Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office on behalf of Rideau Lakes and Tay Valley Townships.

Offer funding provided by the RVCA Rural Clean Water Program to landowners with potential projects that could improve water quality on Crosby, Little Crosby and Pike 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 106 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 loadings to Crosby, Little Crosby and Pike 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).

Pike Lake and Catchment Habitat

Aquatic Habitat/Fisheries/Wildlife

Raise awareness about risks of invasive species in the Pike Lake Post and website (e.g., feature article) and at special events.*

Carry-on with annual clean-up of crown owned islands in Pike Lake and check-up of camp sites. Install additional signage about camping etiquette, permissions and restrictions, as required.*

Promote participation in Canadian Lakes Loon Survey and other Bird Survey programs to increase robustness of observations at Pike Lake. Should findings indicate three successive years of no nesting, consider installing loon nesting platforms to provide suitable habitat.*

Install the third outstanding walleye spawning bed, off Wilson Island in Pike Lake.*

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.

Crosby and Pike Lake Association Leadership

Lake Planning

Pike Lake Association is leading the implementation of the many "Possible Next Steps" listed in the report "Pike Lake Stewardship Update 2011-2016" that provides suggestions of potential actions to take moving forward. Since 2011, the Pike Lake Community Association has undertaken stewardship actions each year that have addressed the three priorities of water quality, natural environment and development pressures.*

Use the information contained in the Tay River Subwatershed Report 2017 and Pike Lake Catchment Report 2017 to assist with a review/update of the State of Pike Lake and its Watershed (2009) report.

Crosby Lake Association may wish to consider a lake planning process to develop a Lake Plan that: • Is an action plan developed by a lake community that identifies and preserves the natural and social characteristics that are valued by the lake community for future generations • Helps to promote community discussion, education and action • Sets goals and objectives for the protection and enhancement of the lake • Recommends land use policies/practices that influence development on the lake • Promotes stewardship actions to improve the environmental conditions of a lake so it can be enjoyed by future generations.

Municipal Liason

Invite the Reeve of Tay Valley Township to the Pike Lake AGM to speak about municipal issues and events affecting Pike Lake residents.*

Pike Lake Education

Review Pike Lake signage to identify other sensitive areas and hazards for potential marking, and mark as appropriate.*

Host workshops and facilitate naturalist activities promoting knowledge of the Pike Lake environment. Note that the Boatilla (or a similar event) is an excellent venue for such activities.*

Continue to solicit input and article ideas from Pike Lake Community Association membership and include features in the “Science for the Family” section of the Pike Lake Post.*

Invite special guest speakers to the Pike Lake AGM to talk about lake health and protection.*

Promote environmentally friendly boating with the “Watch your Wake” guide prepared by the Pike Lake Community Association.*

Make copies of the Pike Lake Post, Pike Lake State of the Lake Report and Keeping Pike Lake Healthy accessible on the Pike Lake Community Association website.*