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President's November Update

Working together to keep the lake healthy

New ULRA sign on Narrows Lock Road (South Shore)

Hopefully you have been enjoying this wonderful fall weather – cool evenings and mostly sunny days. In fact, out at the lake, there was no real frost right through September and October, which is quite unusual.

So far this year a lot has happened. Development locally continues – and this is an essential driver of our local economy. It also means there are more people enjoying our lake, and more of us are full-time residents. Let’s continue to be responsible in maintaining naturalized shore lines, and continuing to do the many little things that contribute to a healthy Upper Rideau Lake.

As the fall season closes, I would like to thank, again, Dave, Dennis, and John, who removed our shoal marker buoys and stored them for the winter. Our Association is the beneficiary of a wonderful donation to the Rideau Lakes Environmental Foundation (RLEF), aimed at helping run our shoal marker program. Thank-you, and please consider donating to RLEF!

Blue Green Algal Bloom this summer

Blue Green Algal Blooms

Earlier this summer, there were confirmed reports of two “blue green” algal blooms – one south of Westport, and the other closer to the Narrow’s Lock. Our lake, like most lakes, contains literally hundreds of different algae. Many of these are highly beneficial. However, when conditions are favourable (e.g., limited water turn over, high local nutrient levels, warm water temperatures), our lake can experience a blue green algae bloom. Fortunately, this time, the two incidents were not particularly toxic, and were transitory. It was, however, disappointing to see that Ontario Ministry of the Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP) took almost 2 weeks to confirm lab results and share these with us and others. (We have written to MPP Steve Clark to seek his support for strengthening lab testing practices within MECP.)

Your Board continues to be busy. On a beautiful morning in September, we hosted members of the Rideau Lakes Township (TRL) “planning committee” (which guides land use policy and development) for a boat tour – to see the many good things, as well as localized challenges on the lake. Thank you Mayor Hoogenboom, Councillors Pollard and Lavoie, and others for coming. Next spring we hope to invite those not able to attend, as well as Westport municipal leadership.

We are thrilled with our new modern signage on the south side of the Narrow’s Lock. (See photo top of this post.) This investment will raise our local visibility and provide contact information.

Focus on Water Quality Issues

We continue to actively support lake water quality measures in our interactions with Westport and TRL. Westport will complete the environmental “swale” at the base of Bedford Street next spring. The Village is starting to update its Official Plan – a vital planning tool which will need to set out specific modern measures to support our lake and those streams entering into it.

Next year promises, once again to be busy – TRL will set out its policy with respect to campground development, and, of course, there are municipal elections next fall. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you have ideas you want to see our Association address, or wish to volunteer your time, please get in touch with me by email or any of our Board Volunteers.

Best wishes for the fall.

John McDowell

President, URLA


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