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AlgaeJuly 26, 2017 – The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has confirmed the presence of blue green algae in the Port Perry area of Lake Scugog in front of Palmer Park. The Township of Scugog has posted the area of concern with support from the Durham region Health Department.

The public is cautioned not to use the water containing blue-green algae for any uses.

The toxins released by blue-green algae when it is dying or disturbed can pose health risks for anyone using the water, including pets. Drinking the water may result in headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Bathing or showering in the water can result in skin rashes, swollen lips, eye irritation and redness, ear ache and itchiness, sore throat, hay fever-like symptoms and asthma. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

Concerns should be directed to the Durham Health Department’s Environmental Helpline: 1- 905 723 3818.

Stay up-to-date on blue-green algae outbreaks

It is difficult to predict when and where a bloom will occur and for how long the toxin associated with the algae will be present, as environmental conditions continually change.
The local health unit will release a water-use warning when the presence of blue-green algae is confirmed by the Ministry of the Environment. Reports and updates are posted in the news sections of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, Peterborough County-City Health Unit and Durham Region Health Department.

What to do if blue-green algae has been confirmed

Do not use water containing blue-green algae for any uses. The toxins released by blue-green algae when it is dying or disturbed can pose health risks for anyone using the water, including pets.
Drinking the water may result in headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Bathing or showering in the water can result in skin rashes, swollen lips, eye irritation and redness, ear ache and itchiness, sore throat, hay fever-like symptoms and asthma. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
 
Boiling water does not help in these situations, as the process just kills the algae resulting in the release of more toxins into the water.
 
For areas where an advisory has been lifted, you should not use the water if you see a large, dense algae bloom.

What to do if you suspect blue-green algae

If you suspect a blue-green algae bloom, assume toxins are present and call the Ministry of the Environment Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060.
Reduce the likelihood of health risks by avoiding activities that increase exposure to these toxins during algae blooms; call the local Health Unit for information and follow their advice.
 
If you are unsure about the safety of water for drinking during an algae bloom, then use alternative water sources such as bottled, carted or tanked water.

Impacts on wildlife

Blue-green algae have been known to cause death in many different types of animals. Animals drink from the shorelines where algae tend to collect; therefore, they ingest large amounts of any toxins released. There have also been deaths reported in water-dwelling animals such as otters and waterfowl. Cattle are often highly impacted by the algae; however, there are not as many deaths due to the size of the animal.
Animals with smaller body masses are more affected by the toxins and tend to be the ones reported dead.
 
Fish can intake toxins from the algae as well, so when eating any fish caught in or near a water body affected by the algae, remove all the internal organs where any toxins would collect.

Causes of blue-green algae outbreaks

Blue-green algae occurs naturally during hot periods of weather in fresh water lakes and reservoirs with shallow, slow-moving, or still water that is rich in nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen. The algae thrive in areas high in nutrients, which can be elevated in lakes and streams due to human activities.
Some of the human sources of these nutrients include storm water runoff, fertilized lawns around the lake, shoreline erosion, industrial effluent, agricultural runoff, faulty septic systems, and sewage treatment plants.
 
Algae blooms, which can often give the water a pea soup appearance, can last up to three weeks and be pushed around the lake by the wind and currents.   

More Information

For more information regarding the presence or health impacts of blue-green algae contact the Health Units below.

City of Kawartha Lakes
Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
1.866.888.4577
 
Peterborough County (includes Galway-Cavendish and Harvey)
Peterborough County-City Health Unit
1.877.743.0101
 
Durham Region (includes Scugog)
Durham Region Health Department
1.800.841.2729

Published in Media Releases

JANUARY 30, 2017 – Kawartha Conservation has extended the commenting period for the second draft of the Four Mile Lake Plan until mid-July. The commenting extension is meant to ensure seasonal residents who don’t have access to the revised documents Online can review and comment when they return to the area. An open house will also be held in early June to answer questions about the revised plan.
 
“We appreciate all of the comments we have received to date regarding the second draft of the Four Mile Lake Plan and would like to thank everyone who took the time to review the community-driven changes reflected in the second draft,” said Dave Pridham, Manager, Conservation Lands, Education and Stewardship Services. “We have been made aware that not all residents or seasonal residents have access to review the documents Online, and it is important we receive everyone’s input. We are also happy to meet individually with anyone who wishes to discuss any aspect of the plan or the lake or watershed study.”

The first draft of the plan was released for public comment in August of 2016 and included open houses in Coboconk and Burnt River.

Draft two of the Plan has taken into consideration all of the feedback Kawartha Conservation received throughout the initial public consultation process.

“The purpose of Plan is to summarize the ecological state of the watershed and to provide advice for lake stakeholders on how to maintain excellent water quality, recreational enjoyment, fish and wildlife populations, and monitoring on Four Mile Lake,” said Aquatic Biologist Brett Tregunno.

Posted on the website at www.KawarthaConservation.com along with the second draft will be an accompanying publication to the Plan entitled the Four Mile Lake Watershed Characterization Report; this provides more detailed technical information on several aspects of the Lake.

Comments on both publications can be emailed directly to Brett Tregunno at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mailed to 277 Kenrei Road, Lindsay, ON K9V 4R1.

Published in Media Releases

January 13, 2017 – The freeze thaw cycle that has characterized much of early winter across the Kawartha Conservation watershed, bringing both rain and snow to the region, has helped to improve lake levels and water flows.

On Thursday, January 12, the Kawartha Water Response Team reduced the Level II low water condition declaration for the majority of the watershed to a Level I low water condition.

In the Township of Scugog, where drought conditions during much of 2016 resulted in the most severe Level III low water declaration, mixed precipitation during December and the early parts of January have improved water levels and water flows significantly, resulting in the move to a Level I low water condition.  

“Recorded three month precipitation from October to December ranged from 66 percent in the north to 86 percent at Ken Reid Conservation Area,” explained Kawartha Conservation Hydrologist Iryna Shulyarenko. “However, actual December precipitation ranged from 110 percent of average December values in the north to 149 percent of December averages at Ken Reid Conservation Area.

“Our flow indicators for December also show that all of the watershed’s monitoring locations reported flows that are significantly higher than the long-term minimum monthly summer flow,” added Ms. Shulyarenko.

In December, the Pigeon River monitoring station showed flows at 113 percent of the Minimum monthly summer flow, while the Blackstock Creek monitoring station reported flows at 335 percent and Nonquon River, near Port Perry showed flows at 550 percent of the minimum monthly summer flow.

While the increased precipitation is good news for residents and businesses across the Kawartha Conservation watershed, ground water supplies are not likely to be significantly impacted until spring when air temperature returns to the stable above freezing mark.

“Those individuals with very, very shallow wells may notice some improvement, but we are not anticipating much improvement in the ground water supply until spring as the infiltration from melting snow becomes steady,” said Ms. Shulyarenko. “We are continuing to ask residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water consumption. Water is a shared resource and every little bit of water conservation will help make a difference for you and your neighbour.”

In response to the impact of the low water conditions on ground water supplies during 2016, Kawartha Conservation, in conjunction with the City of Kawartha Lakes, Farm & Food Care and the Ontario Ministry Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs are hosting a one-day Agricultural drought resilience workshop in Fenelon Falls on Tuesday, January 31.

“We’ve heard from members of our agricultural community about the challenges they have experienced over the last year,” said Ms. Shipclark. “This aim of this workshop is to provide valuable information from a variety of sources to area farmers and landowners. We have put together an agenda that will help address a lot of the questions and provide important and useful information for our agricultural community.”

The cost for the event is $20 and includes lunch. Interested persons must register Online in advance at www.KawarthaConservation.com/agwater or by contacting Kelly Maloney at the City of Kawartha Lakes, 705-324-9411 Ext. 1208.

Published in Low Water Messages

December 19, 2016 – Kawartha Conservation has released the second draft of the Four Mile Lake Plan for public comment.

The first draft of the plan was released for public comment in August and included open houses in Coboconk and Burnt River.

“Draft two of the Plan has taken into consideration all of the feedback we received throughout the initial public consultation process,” explained Aquatic Biologist Brett Tregunno. “We have undertaken a thorough consideration of all comments received and have made significant changes to the revised Plan that reflect the desires and concerns expressed by the public.”

During the first round of public input, Kawartha Conservation staff heard specifically about the need to remove a number of strategic planning elements and reinforce the current special policies in the official plan. Staff have also responded to the need to add aquatic plant control recommendations, more invasive species control and septic system maintenance recommendations.

The purpose of Plan is to summarize the current state of the lake, objectives for maintaining excellent water quality, recreational enjoyment, and monitoring, among others, and a suite of recommendations for all lake stakeholders to consider undertaking to ensure a healthy lake is maintained.

“We are in the final stages of the Four Mile Lake Plan,” said Mr. Tregunno. “This process began four years ago in 2012 and we appreciate everyone who has been involved and taken the time to share their thoughts and views with us throughout this process. We are proud of this document and this Plan and we look forward to hearing from the public regarding the revised Plan.”

Posted on the website at www.KawarthaConservation.com along with the second draft will be an accompanying publication to the Plan entitled the Four Mile Lake Watershed Characterization Report; this provides more detailed technical information on several aspects of the Lake including: Land Use, Socio-economics, Water Quality, Water Quantity, Aquatic Resources, and Terrestrial Natural Heritage.

Comments on both publications can be submitted until January 31, 2017. Comments can be emailed directly to Brett Tregunno at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mailed to 277 Kenrei Road, Lindsay, ON K9V 4R1.

Published in Media Releases