Increasingly, we’re worried about algae build-up in our lakes. Of special concern is the recent appearance of blue-green algae, which is a health risk for humans and their pets. In 2010 we received a Trillium Foundation grant to study algae more closely, with the goal of producing an illustrated guide. The 2012 Algae Guide “The Algae of the Kawartha Lakes” was released in late summer of 2012 and is being distributed now at all KLSA hosted events. You can download a pdf version by clicking on the link in Published Material section.
Sewage plants and storm water
We’ve begun to study what local sewage plants are producing, and we will continue to monitor output, particularly phosphorus. We’re also looking into storm sewers, to find out how they contribute nutrients to our lakes. Click here for details.
There’s a new hybrid type of milfoil appearing in warmer, shallow waters on lakes such as Pigeon. Some municipalities in other provinces and states have been trying to fight it with weevils. Do they work? Is it worth the high cost? Our scientific advisor Dr. Eric Sager is doing a study.
Curve Lake elders report that the areas where wild rice is making a comeback is precisely where traditional rice beds existed long ago. It’s native, and it’s good for ducks, other wildlife, and human consumption. It’s also a sign of a healthy lake environment.
Dr. Eric Sager, our scientific advisor, points out to shore dwellers who find rice beds shutting them in that even if they manage to clear out the rice, something else will grow in its place, quite possibly thickets of milfoil. Our lakes are nutrient rich, and that’s what feeds the plants.
Our friends in KPOW (Kawartha Protect Our Water) report that osprey eggs on Sturgeon Lake had higher levels of PCBs than those around the Great Lakes, an unexpected finding. PCB levels are also high in the sediments at the south end of Sturgeon Lake, near Lindsay. Insects feed on the sediments, fish eat the insects, and ospreys eat the fish: that’s the food chain by which everything is linked. We will follow with interest further KPOW studies.
Pharmaceuticals in the water
When you toss leftover pills down the toilet, or when they reach sewage plants through human waste, do they remain in the effluent that enters our lakes? What effect do they have on lakes and the people who drink the lake water? We’re interested in new studies.