July 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.
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
Peterborough County (includes Galway-Cavendish and Harvey)
Peterborough County-City Health Unit
Durham Region (includes Scugog)
Durham Region Health Department
May 29, 2017 – The Community Advisory Panel and Kawartha Conservation are seeking community feedback on lake management plan implementation projects through a newly launched online survey.
The survey results will be shared during a half-day Stewardship Summit on July 15 at the Cambray Community Centre located at 2255 Elm Tree Road.
“The survey is one component of community consultation and engagement to get specific ideas for projects and priorities regarding lake management plan implementation,” said Community Advisory Panel Chair, Doug Erlandson.
“Working with our community partners and listening to the feedback of residents has been a key component of the lake management plans developed by Kawartha Conservation,” added former Chair Chris Appleton. “That engagement and consultation is continuing through the development of implementation actions.”
The survey results, in conjunction with feedback during the Stewardship Summit will help establish themes, priorities and specific short and long-term projects that will help inform decision-making and multi-year budgeting.
“Lake management plan implementation is a long-term investment,” explained Kawartha Conservation CAO Mark Majchrowski. “By consulting our community across the Kawartha watershed, we will be better able to develop a multi-year action plan and budgeting strategy that provides concrete actions and deliverables to community residents and our municipal partners.”
The survey will focus on five key areas: Stewardship, Strategic Planning, Urban and Rural Infrastructure, Research and Monitoring and Communications and Outreach.
“On behalf of our municipal partners, all of our lake management plans have been developed with strong public engagement and input,” explained Mr. Majchrowski. “We are continuing to engage our community and our partners while we develop community-focused priorities and specific implementation projects.”
Mr. Majchrowski stressed the survey and Stewardship Summit are not just for waterfront property owners, but for the entire community.
“Lake management plan implementation will benefit the entire community, from tourism to agriculture, downtowns, small business, economic development and urban and rural property owners” he said. "Implementing projects that will help protect and improve our lakes and rivers will benefit everyone.”
The survey is available Online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LakePlanImplementationSurvey, and can be completed until Sunday, July 9.
“We appreciate everyone taking the time to complete the survey and sharing it with their family, friends and neighbours,” said Mr. Erlandson. “We look forward to sharing the results at our Stewardship Summit on July 15.”
BLACKSTOCK, ON – Homeowners who experienced water shortages during the drought conditions in 2016, or people who are interested in learning more about harvesting rain water naturally to reduce reliance on municipal water or well water supplies won’t want to miss the free Water Harvesting Workshop in Blackstock on March 29.
Held at the Blackstock Community Centre beginning at 7 p.m., the workshop will feature Kawartha Conservation Stewardship Outreach Technician Greg Bunker and Denis Orendt, Rainwater System Designer/Installer.
“There are a lot of options available for people who want to harvest rain water and the benefits are numerous,” said Mr. Bunker. “Whether people want to be able to water their lawns or gardens, reduce their municipal water consumption or conserve their own well water supply, water harvesting is a great option for saving money and protecting the environment.”
Water harvesting helps to reduce storm water run-off, erosion and flooding as well as protect rivers, streams and lakes.
“From something as simple as diverting flow away from pavements, to using a rain barrel or series of rain barrels to collect rain water or using a cistern for collecting larger quantities of water, the Water Harvesting Workshop will help those in attendance understand the options and the pros and cons,” said Mr. Bunker.
“There is a growing interest in water harvesting as a result of last year’s dry conditions, which resulted in a number of shallow wells going dry,” Mr. Bunker continued. “We heard from a number of residents about their interest in learning more about water harvesting and Mr. Orendt and I are looking forward to sharing a lot of great information with people.
No pre-registration is required for the workshop and attendees are encouraged to bring their water harvesting questions.
PORT PERRY – March 15, 2017 – Natalia Moudrak, Director, Natural Infrastructure Adaptation Program (NIAP), Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation will be the keynote speaker during the Kawartha Conservation Annual General Meeting taking place March 29 at the Port Perry library.
Ms. Moudrak’s keynote presentation titled, “Residential Flood Risk: NOT Adapting is NOT an Option,” will outline the growing costs of extreme weather and flooding, as well as link repeated flooding to elevated risks of mortgage defaults in Canada.
“More and more the communities we serve are impacted by extreme weather, climate change, drought and floods,” said Kawartha Conservation Acting CAO Wanda Stephen. “Ms. Moudrak is a leading industry expert who will talk about the growing need for flood-resiliency work and how global financial audiences are now viewing residential flood risks as one of the greatest economic threats to communities and businesses.”
As a Director of Natural Infrastructure Adaptation Program, Ms. Moudrak advances the development of best practices for building new residential communities in Canada that are more resilient to flooding as well as evaluating the business case for natural infrastructure preservation.
Ms. Moudrak has experience in sustainability strategy, operationalization, reporting and business case development across a wide range of industry sectors and client organizations. Prior to joining the Intact Centre, Ms. Moudrak worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada, Risk Assurance Services.
The public is invited to attend the Annual General Meeting in the Rotary Room of the Port Perry library on March 29 from 4 to 6 p.m.
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.
December 16, 2016 – The majority of the Kawartha Conservation watershed will remain in a Level II Low Water Condition at least through the balance of 2016 and into January, while a Level III Low Water Condition will remain in effect for the Township of Scugog.
“We have seen some improvement in flows in local watercourses but precipitation has continued to be extremely low in November. The groundwater levels are still low and now, when temperatures are below the freezing mark, snow accumulates on the ground and there will be very little ground water recharge until spring,” explained Kawartha Conservation Hydrologist Iryna Shulyarenko.
Kawartha Conservation and the Kawartha Water Response Team partners are encouraging residents and businesses to practice water conservation during the holidays to help alleviate the burden on the already-depleted ground water supplies.
“We are hearing from a number of rural residents about wells running dry across the watershed,” said Stewardship Coordinator Holly Shipclark. “In early December we held a Water Well Workshop in Blackstock that was attended by more than 65 people. We will also be holding a one-day workshop for members of the agricultural community on January 31 in Fenelon Falls.”
The Ontario Low Water Response Program was developed by the Province to help coordinate and support local response in the event of a prolonged period of low stream flows or precipitation. There are three levels of Low Water Conditions with Level I being the least severe and Level III being the most severe.
To learn more about Ontario’s Low Water Response program or to learn how you can help reduce water residential or business water usage visits our website at www.kawarthaconservation.com/watershed/low-water.
BLACKSTOCK, ON – November 23, 2016 – As many people continue to struggle with the drought conditions that have impacted the Kawartha Conservation watershed, homeowners, residents and business owners will have an opportunity to hear from and talk with experts during a FREE Water Well Workshop December 5 in Blackstock.
The Managing Your Well During Drought workshop will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Blackstock Recreation Complex and will cover a number of topics of interest to the local community.
“We have heard from a number of concerned residents and business owners about their wells as the region continues to experience a prolonged period of below average precipitation,” explained Stewardship Technician Mackenzie Kirkham. “As a result we are bringing together staff and experts to help address questions and provide valuable information in an open forum.”
Eades Well Drilling Well Technician Greg Bullock will join Kawartha Conservation Stewardship Coordinator Holly Shipclark and Stewardship Technician Greg Bunker for the evening’s workshop.
“Holly will provide an up to date introduction about current watershed conditions and the concerns that have arisen as a result. Greg Bullock will then lead participants through a water well self-assessment, to help well owners better understand their well and how to maintain it,” explained Stewardship Technician Mackenzie Kirkham.
Greg Bunker will introduce water harvesting and conservation techniques in response to the ongoing low water levels.
“This will be the first in a series of Water Well Workshops with additional sessions planned for other parts of the watershed in the New Year,” said Ms. Kirkham. “The southern portion of the watershed has been experiencing exceptionally dry conditions this year and we wanted to provide this valuable information to well owners across that area as soon as possible.”
If you have questions or concerns about your well, you are encouraged to attend the Free Water Well Workshop on December 5 from 7 to 9 p.m.
November 22, 2016 – Drought conditions are continuing across the Kawartha Conservation watershed with significantly-reduced precipitation in October and through the first half of November.
On Monday, November 21, the Kawartha Water Response Team continued the Level II low water condition declaration for the majority of the watershed with a Level III low water condition declaration for the Township of Scugog.
“Recorded three month precipitation from August to October was below the average precipitation for this period throughout the watershed,” explained Kawartha Conservation Hydrologist Iryna Shulyarenko. “Our flow indicators for October show that with the exception of Blackstock Creek, all of the watershed’s monitoring locations reported flows that are significantly lower than the long-term minimum monthly summer flow.”
Making matters worse, for the first 18 days of November, Port Perry had received only 12.6 percent of the average November precipitation while Indian Point Provincial Park had registered just about 7 percent.
“On average, Port Perry receives 92mm of precipitation in November and Indian Point receives 109.3mm of precipitation,” said Ms. Shulyarenko. “For the first 18 days of November only 12.6mm was recorded by the Port Perry weather monitoring station and only 7.6mm was recorded at Indian Point Provincial Park.”
Kawartha Water Response Team members are hoping for significant precipitation before the ground freezes to help replenish the ground water supply. Unfortunately, officials with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry note their weather models show above average temperatures and below average precipitation into December before temperatures drop to below seasonal averages and the ground freezes.
“We are continuing to ask residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water consumption,” said Ms. Shulyarenko. “Water is a shared resource and every little bit of water conservation will help make a difference for you and your neighbour. This is especially important for residents with shallow wells as ongoing conservation practices can make a significant difference after the ground freezes and aquifer recharge will be greatly reduced.”
In response to the continued negative impact of the low water conditions on ground water supplies, the Kawartha Conservation Water Response Team is presenting free water well workshops with a focus on managing your well to maintain a reliable source of high quality water for domestic use.
“On Monday, December 5 we will be hosting a workshop at the Blackstock Recreation Complex from 7 to 9 p.m.,” said Kawartha Conservation Stewardship Technician Mackenzie Kirkham. “The two-hour session will include a talk with Greg Bullock of Eades Well Drilling who will be discussing how to conduct a water well self-assessment, among other things.” Kawartha Conservation staff will explain outdoor water conservation techniques in response to the current low water conditions.”
Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend the free water well workshop on December 5. Additional water well workshops will be announced early in the New Year.
PORT PERRY, ON – November 14, 2016 – A new weather monitoring gauge station has been established in Port Perry, which will provide critical weather and climate data for the urban community. The project is a collaborative partnership between Kawartha Conservation, Region of Durham and the Township of Scugog.
The Port Perry weather monitoring station will enhance the existing weather monitoring network across the Kawartha Conservation watershed that includes real-time precipitation gauges at Indian Point Provincial Park near Coboconk, Ken Reid Conservation Area in Lindsay and a number of additional locations across the watershed.
“The new weather monitoring station in Port Perry will provide important data every 15 minutes,” explained Watershed Resources Technician Rob Stavinga. “We will have access to real time information ranging from air temperature and humidity to precipitation.”
The need for a monitoring station became more critical after Environment Canada removed their station in Blackstock after more than 20 years.
“Having access to real-time weather and climate data across the watershed allows us to track, predict and understand impacts throughout our watershed based on weather events,” said Kawartha Conservation hydrologist Iryna Shulyarenko. “The new weather station is an important tool in helping us better understand what is happening throughout the entire watershed.”
Ms. Shulyarenko said the addition of the Port Perry monitoring station will enhance Kawartha Conservation’s flood forecasting ability as well as recognizing and addressing low water level conditions.
“Having monitoring stations throughout the watershed provides information on spatial variation of the weather parameters and provides a key tool in helping us develop more accurate flood forecasts, among other things,” she said.
Looking at the long-term perspective, the collected data will help staff understand changes in local climate and how those changes will impact the local ecosystem and communities across the watershed. The data provided by the monitoring station will be used by both Kawartha Conservation and the Region of Durham.
October 17, 2016 – Despite rain over parts of the Kawartha Conservation watershed on Sunday, significantly reduced precipitation amounts across the majority of the watershed are continuing to concern members of the Kawartha Water Response Team. During a meeting October 12, the members supported maintaining a Level II Low Water Condition for City of Kawartha Lakes, Township of Brock, Municipality of Clarington, Municipality of Trent Lakes and Township of Cavan Monaghan, while the Township of Scugog continues to experience a Level III Low Water Condition.
“We are continuing to be negatively impacted by lower than normal precipitation across the watershed, but in particular in the southern portion affecting Lake Scugog,” explained Kawartha Conservation Hydrologist Iryna Shulyarenko.
Ontario Low Water Response indicators for the Kawartha Conservation watershed continue to demonstrate low precipitation values, but even more concerning is the very low flow in local watercourses and declining levels in the ground water.
“We are monitoring very closely the water flows, which continue to be very low for the majority of the watershed,” said Ms. Shulyarenko. “Groundwater levels, especially in shallow wells, continue declining. Numerous situations where wells are drying up have been reported by the Water Response Team members throughout the watershed. Private water supply wells, especially rural, are most vulnerable".
Recent rains, less heat and reduced evaporation have greened up most lawns and allowed for some vegetation and crops recovery. But it has been insufficient to recharge the ground water reserves or improve surface water flows.
Dave Pridham, Manager of Technical and Stewardship Services for Kawartha Conservation said educating residents across the watershed on water conservation is critical to addressing the current low water conditions and conserving water reserves for water supply and ecosystem.
“There are a number of steps all residents and businesses can take across the entire watershed,” said Mr. Pridham. “Now, when outdoor water consumption is generally reduced, our focus should shift to indoor conservation measures. Taking shorter showers, ensuring you’re doing a full load of laundry or making sure the dishwasher is full, mechanisms that conserve domestic water use – these are all small things that each of us can do to help make a positive impact.”
As well residents are reminded to follow municipal water conservation By-Laws that were imposed in Region of Durham and City of Kawartha Lakes to address Level II and III Low Water conditions. Those who hold a Permit to Take Water from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change are asked to reduce their water taking by 20% as well.
Kawartha Conservation will continue monitoring watershed conditions on behalf of the Kawartha Water Response Team and provide updates as they become available.