District to conduct causation study for algal blooms on Peninsula Lake, seeks public input

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The District of Muskoka is inviting members of the public to a stakeholder meeting this Friday (November 8) where Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd. will provide an overview of the Causation Study Pilot Project for Peninsula Lake and seek feedback from the public. The meeting is taking place from 2-4 p.m. at Council Chambers in Huntsville’s Town Hall.

Residents can also complete a survey at engagemuskoka.ca.

Here’s how the District describes its process for the causation study:

“In order to protect one of Muskoka’s most valuable assets, the District undertakes a comprehensive water quality monitoring program each year. The data collected from this program is used to identify lakes that are considered vulnerable based on specific water quality indicators such as confirmed blue-green algae blooms or increasing phosphorus levels.

“When a lake is listed as vulnerable, one of the first steps outlined in the Muskoka Official Plan (MOP) is to initiate a waterbody-wide causation study to determine the causes and relative contributing factors to the identified water quality indicators.

“Although the overall framework for undertaking a causation study is outlined in the MOP, studies are to be tailored to respond to the unique situations and contexts of individual lakes. Additionally, because the causation study approach is a new methodology, the approach and process is best initiated through a pilot project. Every causation study undertaken will be evidence-based through the use of the best available science.

“The District of Muskoka has retained an environmental sciences consultant to undertake a Causation Study Pilot Project and Peninsula Lake has been selected to be studied first. Pending funding and other resources, the District plans to undertake causation studies for other vulnerable lakes, specifically Stewart Lake, Leonard Lake and Three Mile Lake over the next two years. The complete list of vulnerable lakes can be found in Schedule E2 of the MOP (PDF).

“To receive project updates and to stay informed of the outcomes of the Peninsula Lake Causation Study Pilot Project and future causation studies on vulnerable lakes in Muskoka, subscribe to the courtesy notice list by contacting Emily Crowder via email [email protected]

You can learn more about Causation Studies and the Pilot Project at www.engagemuskoka.ca.

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2 Comments

  1. It might be worth dusting off the septic input survey that was sponsored by the Pen Lake Association in 1996.
    Warmer summers have no doubt contributed to the growth of algae…but it has to get its nutrients from somewhere…

  2. Most lakes are unique in one way or another. Our “beloved Pen Lake” has an unfortunate uniqueness, by not having a defined passing current for a lake of this size. There are no natural waterways in and out. Keeping in mind that the Canal was initially dredged to allow for boat traffic, but naturally it was a stream that allowed water from the streams flowing into Pen Lake to enter Fairy Lake. There are some great winds on Pen, but that is just a surface disturbance to the water. There are sheltered pockets of great turbidity that sit unmoved for a season. The study, hopefully, will sample the entire shoreline for cause, as well as a good deal of the lake itself to show effect, and then recommendations for a remedy.

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