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Balsam Lake sunset
Balsam Lake sunset. Photo by Luke Saagi

Balsam Lake is the highest point along the Trent-Severn Waterway. On the west side, water flows westward into the Severn system. On the east side, it flows eastward into Cameron Lake. The lake receives water from the Canadian shield in the north and from the lands immediately surrounding the lake, including the Staples River subwatershed.

Subwatershed Characteristics

  • Subwatershed area: 115 km² or 11489 ha
  • Waterbody area: 48 km² or 4,769 ha
  • Total watercourse length: 88 km
  • Density of watercourses: 0.54 km/km²
  • Average watershed slope: 1.95 %

Natural Cover

  • Forest Interior (100 m): 1,951 ha
  • Forest Interior (200 m): 560 ha
  • Dominant Forest Type: Mixed forest
  • Natural Cover: 52 %

Provincially Significant Wetlands

  • Balsam Lake No.14: 183 ha
  • Balsam Lake No.15: 12 ha
  • Balsam Lake South Bay No.42: 674 ha
  • Balsam Lake Wetland: 13 ha
  • Corben Cr. Wetland: 32 ha
  • Grass Creek (Eldon Twp.): 6 ha
  • Indian Point: 19 ha
  • Pearns Creek: 89 ha
  • Staples Creek: 124 ha

ANSI - Life Science

  • Burnt River Mouth Wetlands: 1.44 ha
  • Indian Point: 805 ha

The follow grades are based on monitoring data from 2012 to 2017.

Lake - Surface Water Quality

Indicator Result Grade Status
Total Phosphorus 0.010 mg/L B Good

The surface water quality grade was based on Total Phosphorous and/or Benthic Macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects).  A TP value below 0.03 mg/L (rivers) or 0.02 (lakes) meets the provincial guidelines and is in the B (good) or A (Excellent) grade range, while the result for Benthic Macroinvertebrates must be 5.00 or lower to receive a B (Good) or A (Very good to Excellent) grade.

 

Subwatershed - Surface Water Quality

Indicator Result Grade Status
Benthics Macroinvertabrates
6 (FBI) D Fairly Poor

The surface water quality grade was based on Total Phosphorous and/or Benthic Macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects).  A TP value below 0.03 mg/L (rivers) or 0.02 (lakes) meets the provincial guidelines and is in the B (good) or A (Excellent) grade range, while the result for Benthic Macroinvertebrates must be 5.00 or lower to receive a B (Good) or A (Very good to Excellent) grade.

 

Forest Conditions

Indicator Area Cover Percent Cover Grade Status
Forest Cover 57.8 km² 50.4% A Excellent
Forest Interior 20.8 km² 12.8% A Excellent
Forested Riparian Cover 3.7 km² 45.8% B Good

The combined forest condition grade for the Balsam Lake watershed is ranked as excellent.

 

Wetland Conditions

Indicator Area Cover Percent Cover Grade Status
Wetland Cover 24.1 km² 17.1% A Excellent

Provincial Stream Water Quality Monitoring Network

Stream: Gull River
Location: Hwy 35, Coboconk

Enter 17002102502 in the map search bar at http://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/provincial-stream-water-quality-monitoring-network

Water levels

See the Balsam Lake monitoring station on the map at http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/on/trentsevern/visit/ne-wl/trent_e.asp

The Balsam Lake subwatershed is in good condition. Landowners are encouraged to maintain this condition through good stewardship practices.

Shoreline property owners

Healthy shorelines contribute to lake health. Create or maintain a 3 metre or larger buffer along your shoreline using native plants with deep roots. The plants will help prevent soil erosion and ice damage with their roots, filter nutrients and other sediments in surface water runoff to the lake, and help deter nuisance Canada Geese. Avoid cutting the grass all the way to the water or keeping a vertical breakwall. Click here for more about shoreline protection.

Maintain your septic system to ensure it is working properly. Be sure to have it pumped regularly, and upgraded when needed. Click here for deals.

Farmers and rural property owners

Help prevent nutrient runoff from fields and manure stockpiles, as well as reduce erosion. Eroded soils can also add nutrients to the water, and cover up important fish spawning habitat. Click here for tips on nutrient reduction and erosion control.

The amount of existing wetland needs to be maintained. Click here for more about wetlands.

Urban property owners

Care needs to be taken in Rosedale and other built up areas to prevent contaminated runoff from entering the lake. This includes reducing fertilizer use, maintaining your septic system, picking up pet waste, preventing soil erosion, and keep oil and other toxic fluids from dripping onto the driveway or lawn. Click here for more about urban stewardship.

Here are links to some of the programs and activities taking place within the Balsam Lake Subwatershed:

Subwatershed Menu

Use the drop-down menu or click the subwatershed on the map and follow the link.

 

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