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7.0 Pike Lake Catchment: Challenges/Issues

Developed by the Pike Lake Community Association and volunteers, 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 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 land and water resources of the lake ecosystem. Specific issues noted by the lake community are indicated by an asterisk.

Development

Potential impacts to the lake environment from secondary shoreline development (i.e. second tier) is an ongoing concern.*

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 Rideau Lakes and Tay Valley Townships 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

Introduction of invasive species (e.g., Eurasian Milfoil, Zebra Mussel) to Pike Lake and the control of their spread.*

Pike Lake has 69 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).

Crosby Lake has 58 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).

Little Crosby Lake has seen a small increase in the area of settlement (0.21 ha.) along its shoreline between 2008 and 2014, due to a loss of woodland (see Section 4.4 of this report).

Pike Lake has seen a small increase in the area of settlement (0.09 ha.) along its shoreline between 2008 and 2014, due to a loss of woodland (see Section 4.4 of this report).

Four of nineteen sampled headwater sites in the catchment have been modified (three are channelized; one is a roadside ditch)(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 Crosby, Little Crosby and Pike Lakes.

Lake Planning

Nine key issues identified by lake residents in the Report on the State of Pike Lake and its Watershed (2009): 1) Water quality 2) Development pressures 3) Conservation and protection of the natural environment 4) Impacts of motor vehicles 5) Crown land 6) Mining concerns 7) Aquatic vegetation 8) Water levels 9) Fisheries health.*

Land Cover

Land cover has changed across the catchment (2008 to 2014) largely as a result of an increase in the area of wetland (5 ha.) and settlement (4 ha.) and loss of woodland (4 ha.), crop and pastureland (2 ha.) and meadow-thicket (1 ha.)(see Section 4.1 of this report).

Wetlands have declined by six percent since European pre-settlement and now cover 20 percent (1220 ha.) of the catchment (in 2014). Sixty-five percent (792 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).

Mis/overuse of the Crown Land islands in the lake, including fire danger and garbage from camping activity.*

Water Levels

Management of water levels on Pike Lake for waterfront property owners; in particular, flooding in the spring and late fall and the lack of adequate drainage at its outlet to Grants Creek.*

Water Quality

Algal blooms are a source of concern for Pike Lake residents.*

Stanleyville Dump remains a concern to residents of Pike Lake for its potential impact on surface and groundwater quality.*

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

Little Crosby Lake surface chemistry water quality rating is Fair. The score at this site is largely influenced by occasional high nutrient concentrations, bacterial pollution and metal (aluminum) exceedances (see Section 2.2 of this report).

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

Seventy-two (of 255) Tay Valley Township mandatory septic system inspections conducted from 2004 to 2017 on Pike Lake revealed the need for remedial work (on 64 systems) and replacements (of eight systems) to be performed. An additional seven inspections require more information to be provided to landowners. Those properties with concerns are identified in the yearly report submitted by the Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office to the Township.

Thirty-four (of 61) Rideau Lakes Township voluntary septic system re-inspections conducted from 2007 to 2017 on Crosby and Little Crosby Lake revealed the need for remedial/maintenance work to be performed on 34 septic systems and no replacements. An additional four inspections require more information to be provided to landowners. Those properties with concerns are identified in the yearly report submitted by the Mississippi Rideau Septic System Office to the Township.

Wildlife

​Protection of the Pike Lake loon population from human activity (e.g., from watercraft incursions; fishing and hunting residues).*