Lake Health

Trémolo du huard à collier

Water analysis at Lake Saint-François-Xavier

In early July, Mr. David Clark, former President of the Association du lac Saint-François-Xavier, reminded his contacts that since 1970, the Association had been conducting various tests on the lake to assess "its current state of health, to identify risks and to provide a factual basis for making decisions and recommending protective measures". He added that he had been recording the results of these tests for 50 years in a digital format that was easy to access and analyze and that he kept up to date. Mr. Clark has also worked extensively on interpreting these results over this long period of time and has suggested some conclusions. He showed them in a presentation, which is still evolving and which the undersigned, along with others, has already been able to appreciate.

Having asked the Executive of the Association for the expected results for 2019, he learned that the tests on the bacteriological quality of the water, regularly entrusted to Géostar, had not been carried out for that year. "This includes fecal coliform tests that provide us with information on the level of safety of the lake for human use. All this was done without consulting the members of the lake association..." The reason given was that the biologist mandated to guide the Association's action in this field, Mr. Mathieu Madison, would have suggested that these tests be carried out only every three years. Has there been confusion about the three-year plan commissioned from the biologist or for some other reason? Mr. Madison told Mr. Clark in April 2020 that he had never made such a suggestion to the Association. He will state that he "had been hired to work with the executive to develop a three-year testing plan, but was in the very early stages of developing targets and there had been no discussion of relevant tests and their frequency".

Mr. Clark then "decided to create a group to continue the current testing program until a new one was approved by the Lake Association membership. This would not be an association or other organization; it would be "simply a group of Lake St. François-Xavier residents who are dedicated to the protection of our lake and its watershed and who have the best possible factual information to do so". The cost of the tests entrusted to Géostar was $520 + taxes, which the participants would have to pay. To date, the group has 23 members, including the undersigned and Mr. Clark gave us the list.

"In return, (the participants) will have access to 50 years of recorded test data and an annual presentation interpreting the results. This presentation will be available in May of each year".

Mr. Clark also learned that "this year, (RSVL) has decided to drop the existing lakes from its program and take on new ones in order to broaden its understanding of more Quebec lakes". «(This required us) to extend our contract with Géostar to include two additional tests that are important to get the best possible view of our lake". They have been conducted for July and August and will be again in September and October.

Dave Clark adds: "To join the group (you) just need to contact me. Anyone is welcome.» 

With DeepL & Linguee.

By Carl Chapdelaine

Skeptical about the disposal of septic sludge?

La Presse of May 27, 2020 denounces the "King of Sewers" merry-go-round. "For two days last fall, a team from La Presse followed the movements of a semi-trailer transporting sludge recovered by Beauregard Environnement, which dumped its loads on farmland in Mirabel rather than on a disposal site in Ontario." Origin of the semi-trailer: Saint-Jérôme; and a scheme that had been going on for years. In this case, the sludge actually came from Montreal.

Beauregard Environnement is allegedly under the indirect control of Michel Chalifoux, who was charged criminally some ten years ago. The company, which offered exceptionally low bids, "has swallowed up many of its competitors over the years. It now operates under about 30 names, including Sani-North and Enviro Sani-North..."

Boues usées épandues en milieu agricole: le manège du roi des égouts dévoilé

Translated with (free version)

By Carl Chapdelaine

Moribund lakes

The residents of Lake St. François-Xavier are generally proud of this beautiful lake. They can swim there and practice their favorite water sports. Some even do not fear to drink its water. They admire its panorama and are happy to live there. But more and more residents of other lakes, in Lanaudière as in the Laurentians, have a different perspective; the lake they have chosen, or their parents before them, is dying prematurely ... That's what happened to Lake Sioux, at Saint-Adolphe-d'Howard; a lake that results from the construction of a dam. And, according to the increasing cries for help of residents, this is what is waiting for more and more lakes in the region.

Let us tell you what happened to a small family of immigrants who chose, as their neighbor, the undersigned, to buy a holiday home on the edge of a beautiful little lake. "We bought this second home (we live in Montreal) in order to transform it into a main residence in the future." The same year, they bought a first small lot located directly on the shore to enjoy private access to the lake, swimming, fishing and sailing.

"Admiring this beautiful landscape, we bought a second wooded area, more picturesque and much larger (about 1500 m²). ... We were very pleased with our property and for a few years we enjoyed the lake with a lot of fun, mainly for fishing trips. Then we got permission to build the dock.

"At the time of the acquisition of the parcel on the shore of the lake, they had noticed that the surface of the water in front of it was moderately covered with aquatic plants; which did not pose them any problem. "We were not aware of the problematic state of the lake and could not anticipate any difficulties or inconveniences that might occur in the future; because during the spring freshet and the summer bloom of aquatic plants, the lake never showed its true state.  "But the construction of the dock and new observations on the lake would make them discover that this small lake, so beautiful from the surface just a few years ago, was hiding big problems.

"By this time, we had already noticed that the proliferation of aquatic plants had become increasingly impressive and was beginning to move rapidly towards the center of the lake. But the most important and unfortunately most unpleasant discovery was the fact that the bottom of the lake, near our shore, was a continuous swamp, filled with dead tree trunks, decaying plants and leaves, which were not visible under the vast expanses of water lily leaves.

... In addition, we had to call on outside help to recover not only the dozens of trees at the bottom, but also an old wooden boat and the remains of household items: metal and plastic objects, sink, toilet, pots, wheels, mattresses, many glass bottles, ceramic dishes, etc. "The previous owner of the property probably did not find a more appropriate way to get rid of this waste.

"The lot we had was limited to 3 x 4 m, which allowed us to buy a paddle boat for 4 people (which was later replaced by a smaller one). But we could not get the most out of it because it was practically impossible to navigate along our shore. Because of the excessive density of water lilies and the presence of a large number of organic residues in the water, twice we have broken the rudder blade (replaced by a metal one) and for this reason, we started using it only in the spring and fall when the water level increased.

The use of an inflatable mattress, pierced by a pointed branch, was also a disappointing experience. In July and August, it became impossible to navigate. It has even happened that the bottom of the boat has slipped on submerged islets, consisting of a mixture of plant matter and other debris, or that its oars have become stuck in the stems of aquatic plants.

"They soon find that the presence of these floating islets prevents the free circulation of water that becomes stagnant. It seems to them that this fact, together with excessive evaporation during high temperatures, will have produced the strong smell of decomposition "which is often accompanied by release of organic gases in the form of bubbles, creating the effect of water boiling or fermentation of the yeast dough. In addition, during the heat waves, this stench extends even a few meters deep into the wooded area".

These floating islets are strong enough to be used as a raft; they can even be confused with islands of dry land. Invasive vegetation has also caused some mishaps; as when users having rented a pedal boat at the small municipal beach got entangled in this mass of aquatic plants. It was necessary to give them a hand, helping them to get out with long poles.

The couple formed themselves as volunteer monitors and began to analyze the properties of the lake. They noted the depth and relief of the bottom using a sounder. The depth was only 1 to 1.5 meters near their shore, against 9 in the center of the lake. This shallow depth could only favor the rapid warming of water and the proliferation of aquatic plants in their area.

But is the human habitat, with a dozen riparian residences in addition to those upstream, including a majority of resorts, here at issue? The banks are wooded and there is no agriculture; no motorized boat. The causes of this decline seem to be natural. And this state of eutrophication would be confirmed by the noticeable diminution of the number of perch in favor of the bullhead; the latter prefers a marshy environment.

The couple is desperate but does not want to give up; not only for its own good but for that of the lake, other residents and for the attractiveness of the region. They would like by all means to clean it up, to restore it. Have not others done such a clean-up? Then, didn’t the fish restocking of Laurentian lakes with farmed trout contribute to maintain cottage country  and tourism?

They are now appealing to their municipality and they hope that the new minister in Quebec, Benoit Charrette, who announced that water protection would be a priority for 2020, will propose some measures to encourage them in their efforts to "slow down the process of aging of the lake and prevent it from becoming completely swampy or disappearing from the municipal map, as unfortunately happened with Lake Sioux in St-Adolphe-d'Howard, in the Laurentians ".

Reported by Carl Chapdelaine

With Google Translate and Linguee

Our lakes are sick

On Saturday, August 3rd, the JournaldeQué  published an article on the troubling state of Quebec lakes, at least those for which the VLMP collects data. It stated: "At least 200 sick lakes in Quebec are dying slowly" «Au moins 200 lacs malades du Québec agonisent à petit feu». These are mainly lakes in southern Quebec, where an aggravating variable, agriculture, predominates. Its Siamese, the JournaldeMontré, published at the same time a schematic chart of the Regroupement des Associations Pour la Protection de l’Environnement des Lacs et des bassins versants (RAPPEL), entitled: "Comment meurt un lac (How a lake dies)". This table summarizes the life expectancy of a lake or, as you know, its state of eutrophication.  

The young, oligotrophic lake would have a life expectancy of several tens of thousands of years; even a hundred thousand. This should theoretically be the case for most lakes in Quebec, from the last ice age, which are only 12,000 years old. According to its depth and other variables, it would become swamp a day more or less distant; and then disappear. But it is without taking account of the presence and the action of man. Because of these, some lakes have prematurely reached their eutrophic phase.

Our young lake has a sandy or rocky bottom, with few aquatic plants; its water is fresh and clear. Aging, it becomes muddy, with a lot of seaweed and scrambled warmer water. The lake eutrophication process, according to the RAPPEL scheme, is accelerated by sediment and nutrient inputs. The source of these nutrients: fertilizers, abusive logging and shoreline erosion, sewage, detergents and soaps *, as well as usual or industrial landfills.

The Journal de Québec reports: "We know that the lake will die in a few years," says Claude Poulin, president of the Tomcod Lake Association, also called the small lake Saint-François, in Estrie. "We have been working in this watershed for more than 10 years on a lake rehabilitation project," says Barry Husk, president of BlueLeaf. It was the most hypereutrophic lake (the last stage of aging of a lake) in Quebec when we started, in 2007. "Due to the accumulation of sediments, the depth of this lake, around 7, 6 meters about 30 years ago, and in which we bathed, would be reduced to only 3 meters today, said Mr. Poulin; and swimming is prohibited. The chemical fertilizers and manure used in its watershed had completed the work. In less than a hundred years, how many of our lakes have not suffered the same fate?

The journalist, Annabelle Blais, reports the findings of researchers and the confession of spokespersons of the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) to the effect that there is too little data on the situation and not enough concrete measures to ensure a better future for our lakes. Too few means and local organizations without sufficient resources or support; too few constraints and government budgets.

The residents of course have their share of responsibility; the more they are around a lake, the more the latter seems to be a candidate for accelerated eutrophication. And climate change is not ruled out. An increase in the temperature of the water; increased precipitation and hence runoff are suspected to contribute to phosphorus input, aquatic vegetation development, and lake eutrophication.

In response to the report of the Bureau of Inquiry of the Journal, the Minister of the MELCC, Mr. Benoit Charrette, expressed concern about the health of lakes and admitted that monitoring that is made was insufficient. He promised "to make water protection a priority in 2020".

By Carl Chapdelaine

* The Federal regulation on phosphorus concentration for certain household cleaning products (including dishwashing or dishwasher detergents and laundry detergents) nevertheless limits the weight of elemental phosphorus in those to 0.5% since July 1st, 2010, against 2.2% or more previously. The by-law

With Google Translate and Linguee

Project of emptying septic tanks by the municipality (report)

Draft regulation:  Projet-de-règlement-2019-557 - Vidanges-septiques

Mayor F. Ghali and the Director of the Planning and Environment Department, E. Farmer, led the consultation. All members of the Council were in the community hall, as well as some fifty residents.

The mayor opened the meeting indicating that this was a major policy of his administration. It was also necessary to better meet the requirements of the law and protect the environment. The management of the emptying of the septic tanks by the Municipality would allow a better application of the law and would improve all these operations on its territory.

He pointed out that several residents had already come together to get a good price for this emptying service. In principle, he added, the cost of an emptying should drop by about $50, depending on the tenders. (An emptying in a group setting or a promotion can currently be at $150 in one case at Lake Notre-Dame, or $170 at Laurel).

Mr. Farmer began his brief presentation, supported by a Power Point. We refer readers to our previous article on the issue to follow the basis of this presentation; it hardly differs from it. Emptying by the Municipality? We will add here some more specific points.

There was already an ongoing operation to characterize the wastewater facilities at each Wentworth-Nord properties for perhaps seven years. About 20% of facilities have been analyzed, we understand; around the lakes especially.

The management of the emptying of septic tanks by the Municipality should be done at zero cost for its cash.

We will go to tender this winter for coverage of the territory at 50% for the first year and 50% for the second.

An inspector of the Municipality will follow the operation of the emptying; which will also allow inspection of the facilities.

There will be big tanks spread over the territory. The tank truck will be able to empty its contents into the big tank rather than having to reach the site of dispersion of the sludge for each emptying.

There will be arrangements at the beginning of the program, to take into account the emptying already made by the owner under the previous regime.

Mr. Farmer gives details on the type of emptying, selective or not.
Question period

- We refer to the affirmation where it is mentioned that the program will be without added expenses for the Municipality. Mr. Farmer responded that there will be a small amount ($10) billed with the price of the emptying. Another resident will come back with the same question; believing that there will definitely be fees for the Municipality for the administration and application of the program.

- Residents bring the debate on their specific case; especially when there are additional facilities added to the septic tank. The director specifies that the Municipality will only take care of emptying the septic tanks; that for the others, there are maintenance contracts with the company that sold the facilities, according to the provincial regulation. The mayor indicates that today is a general presentation; that special cases would be considered in due course.

- A resident of Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines (?) says that the management of the emptying of septic tanks by this municipality has led to an increase in the cost of $ 100 per emptying. (Without prejudice, C.C.).

- Another states that the responsibility left to the owner, as now, works very well; that when a public body takes over something, it always costs more. It will have to pay for an inspector. Later there will be a comment, punctuated by some applause, that the Municipality should start by taking care of the roads. The mayor will answer that they are dealing with it; but this subject is not on the agenda tonight. The environment is the priority here; even if the measures to be taken are not necessarily going to please all voters.

- Someone asks if the population can decide to embark or not. Mayor Ghali replied that it will be necessary to come to such management by the Municipality sooner or later; but if the Council, under the pressure of the citizens, recedes, they would stay there for the moment. He says the environment would suffer from a refusal to move forward here; while many residents currently do not comply with the regulations for their facilities or maintenance.

- A resident said to be part of a group of forty septic tank owners, grouped for the operation of emptying. "What will happen to us?"

- If you live on an island (or a territory without road access); will you have the same municipal service? Mr. Farmer says that the cost of the emptying will be increased.

- Is not there a risk that companies will ask a municipality for more money? The director reminds that it is a very competitive market; that it should not happen.

- And for those who have sumps? In spring, we see overflowing. Mr. Farmer says that as long as there is no pollution, no authority is involved. If not, we will act. 212 (?) out of the 2150 (?) have already been inspected. We will discover a lot of non-compliance with the regulation.

- Will we have a breakdown of the costs to the Municipality and the citizen? The Mayor responded that we cannot know exactly the details of the costs before the bids and the further development of the program. (Our notes are illegible here and therefore improvised from other interventions ...)

- Do you not already have the power to enforce the law? Yes, in theory, according to the mayor; but delinquency is too strong and too difficult to counter under the present regime.

- We and another citizen ask if the Municipality will manage everything. Are there not companies specialized in this type of management? Mr. Farmer replied that the Municipality wants to maintain control and therefore manage the operation. But certain components, such as the determination of the emptying routes, can be entrusted to companies. Cannot you start with a pilot project; with a sector for the first year? The Mayor tells us that, like other suggestions heard here, this will be considered.

- We ask if we know why the region of the Laurentides, with only 16% of municipalities managing the emptying of septic tanks, is thus among the least advanced in this respect; the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean having 91%, according to a global survey started in 2013. The director does not have the explanation; but he mentions that the program works very well in Saint-Hyppolyte; in a territory apparently similar to that of Wentworth-Nord.

By Carl Chapdelaine; without prejudice.

With Google Translate and Linguee.

Emptying of septic installations  managed by the municipality?

(Essay to provide a basis for the purpose of feeding the consultation session for residents scheduled this July 5 in W-N. A presentation by the authorities should provide more appropriate information.) C.C.

 Draft regulation 2019 - 557

(The essence of this essay is taken from Vers une gestion optimale des fosses septiques au Québec (MDDELCC) (Towards an optimal management of septic tanks in Quebec).

The responsibility for emptying septic tanks* rests with the citizen or municipal authorities. In Wentworth-Nord, it is the first situation that prevails. According to a survey by the Ministry of Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change), started in 2013, the percentage of management by the municipality of this operation was only 16% in the Laurentides region, one of the lowest rates among the regions of Quebec. It was 42% in Lanaudière and 91% in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.

The management of the emptying of septic installations by a municipality or a MRC is seen as a step towards an optimal management of the wastewater of residences not connected to a municipal sewer system. This support experienced strong growth in Quebec for the selected period, i.e. from 2003 to 2013; probably because, since 2014, MRCs must have a residual materials management plan in their territory. "In addition to providing homeowners with peace of mind and reduced service costs, this new program will ensure that this type of domestic waste is valued from an ecological perspective and will focus on the prevention of backflow or contamination of the environment through regular and standardized maintenance. "  Pointe-Calumet

The 2-year or 4-year emptying for seasonal residences applies in both cases; unless the municipality or the MRC has availed itself of the possibility of proceeding according to the measurement of sludge. This last method, allowing emptying only the tanks that need it, is preferable to the previous one. Dubbed the use of selective emptying trucks, it becomes the optimal management in this area. It also provides a brief annual inspection of the septic system. In the municipality of the Canton of Orford, it has on average favored a decrease in sludge emptying and transport, as well as the consequent saving. But only 7% of the municipalities that take care of the emptying chose this option.

The municipal authorities may entrust the operation to a company or, at least, entrust contractors do the emptying. Also, "municipalities must have a monitoring tool to look at individual wastewater treatment installations ..."  They generally use the Ministry's "Soiteau" software to ensure this follow-up. The establishment of this service requires an investment in human and financial resources; it commands an awareness of the citizen and does not happen overnight. For a municipality like Wentworth-Nord, which does not have a sewer or water system, the challenge is significant. The Regroupement des organismes de bassins versants du Québec (Coalition of Quebec Watershed Organizations) outlines the planning steps required to implement such a program.  ROBVQ

The costs of the program are shown on the municipal tax bill of the affected citizens or on a separate tax account. It is not mentioned in the study whether the overall cost for all citizens is higher or lower than when the emptying belongs to the individual. But the La Matapédia MRC believes that it could lead to economies of scale. There are, however, some administrative costs incurred by the municipality. (Installations other than septic tanks, such as dry composting toilets, don’t necessarily fit in the program, but there owners are probably not exempted of the tax on municipal costs ...)

The survey shows that the management of the emptying of septic installations by municipal authorities improves the management of wastewater (septic) treatment in all its aspects. It thus ensures better protection of the environment of sources and wells as well as watercourses.

* Remember that wastewater is divided into two components: greywater and water from toilets. Only the latter, to our knowledge, are called septic; although tiny traces of faeces may be found in the former. But, as all sewage from isolated residences is generally collected by the septic tank in Quebec, the totality, so to speak, becomes septic.

(With the use of Google Translate & Linguee)

By Carl Chapdelaine

Other sources:

Results RSVL 2018 

For the first time, the West basin (Newaygo) is granted the same RSVL protocol as that of the Montfort basin. The Lake Association therefore reportedly conducted water quality surveys in the summer of 2018 at the deepest point of the West Basin (station 0307B), as it was already doing for the Eastern Basin (Station 0307A) for several years. The physicochemical and transparency data are now available for the Newaygo basin next to the series for the Montfort basin, downstream from the first one. Bassin Ouest 2018. It should be remembered that samplings are taken at the deepest point of a lake. Being the deepest point in all of Lake St. François-Xavier, only Station A was used when the two basins were counted as a single lake,

It is known that the morphometric and hydrological data of two basins of the same lake may vary to some degrees; think of their morphology, the volume of water contained, the renewal time or the drainage ratio. Can we not imagine, for example, that the West basin, upstream, retains more of the sediment received from the watershed of the lake than the East basin? Would this not explain the fact that the "total phosphorus" recorded in 2018 was higher (7.4 against 5.2) and the transparency of the water not as good (3.7 m against 3.9 m) as in the East basin? The RSVL experts conclude that the water is therefore slightly enriched by this nutrient, and slightly cloudy; preservation measures are necessary.

For their part, some physicochemical data for the Eastern basin are difficult to compare with those of previous years. Total phosphorus increased from 3.2 in 2017 to 5.2 in 2018. However, following the finding of undervaluation in the plastic containers used at the time, the RSVL authorities replaced them with containers in glass (and bigger for a better sampling?) in 2018. Correction factors had to be applied to allow the historical analysis of data ...  Bassin Est

There is obviously a great interest in now comparing the variables of the two basins. A more precise diagnosis of the different phenomena observed will be facilitated thanks to these comparisons. In the longer term, comparative assessments of multi-year data could tell us even more about the respective trends in water quality and eutrophication for each basin, as for the lake as a whole.

By Carl Chapdelaine

Google Traduction

Groundwater - Laurentides

Groundwater analysis for our Laurentians

"In Canada, there is more water below the surface than on the surface." This water is stored in aquifers, "formations of rock that yield water when tapped for a well. Groundwater often emerges naturally at the surface, forming a spring or flowing into a river or lake."  Canadian Geographic

There may be several types of these aquifers in the different river basins; some are housed in permeable geological layers, such as sand, and others are isolated by a more or less impermeable layer. "Some of these aquifers, being located near the surface (the water table), without protection from an impermeable layer, are vulnerable to pollution."  OBV de la Capitale

Aquifers are filled according to the inputs in precipitation; it's the recharge. The variation of the volume of this recharge, an important data, is also dependent on the geological formation. Portail Québec

As with runoff and streams waters, from which we take samples and that we analyze, knowledge of the properties of groundwater systems is of great importance. Research at this level in our Laurentians is embryonic; however, some characterization protocols recently developed in Quebec and applied in other regions now makes it possible to tackle them.  

Abrinord, in collaboration with neighboring watershed agencies and MRCs, including the Pays-d'en-Haut, is now participating in "a comprehensive groundwater knowledge acquisition project [Projet d’acquisition de connaissances sur les eaux souterraines (PACES)], coordinated by the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)". The project, launched in 2018, now requires, among other things, the participation of volunteers to collect water samples from their wells.

"The project goal is to update the existing hydrogeological maps and will study patterns of movement of groundwater and its interaction with surface waters and wetlands. The geochemistry of groundwater mapping will be also established to determine its quality." Gaïa Presse

The Ministry of the Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) is participating through a grant of "nearly $ 1.5 million to Marie Larocque, professor and hydrogeologist at UQAM, coordinator of the project. UQAM and Marie Laroque

Par Carl Chapdelaine

$ for saving wetlands

Our lakes are well visible and appreciated; in our mind, their value cannot be questioned. Wetlands are less so. And yet, they have an important role in the watersheds where they offer, among other things, an essential regulation of the water flow. Not only do they hold the extra water in times of flood, but they conversely compensate the effects of occasional droughts. Without the marshes, as at the head of Lake St. François-Xavier (towards Lac à la Croix), and peatlands, as the Orphans’ Trail actually let us discover with delight, melting snow and torrential rains incurred during storms would cause fluctuations of the water level and a sediment transport beyond those we currently know.  
And their benefits do not stop there. They filter the water and purify it; including by dealing with the phosphates and nitrates. The quality of water seeping into the groundwater or heading towards the lakes is thus improved. Present on the banks of a river, they protect all these by serving as a buffer between land and water. Peatlands, in addition, store carbon and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Study Lac-à-la-Tortue
Wetlands also provide quality habitat and biodiversity conservation; from which benefits winged wildlife among others. The heronry at Lake St. Victor is a good example. Let us, with Dan Kraus, Nature Conservancy of Canada's National conservation biologist, be touched by the sound of the croaking of the frogs of the marsh. A world without wetlands  
The firm of researchers Ouranos *, from which we have borrowed these indications, underlines a hot topic out of them: save wetlands to reduce our vulnerabilities to climate change. Fiche-Milieux humides  
It is in this context that we can appreciate the last intervention by the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC). A statement from the Ministry has indeed announced that Québec is providing $83 300 to each MRC to support its efforts to protect water and wet areas. The amount must be in the mandatory development of their first Plan régional des milieux humides et hydriques (PRMHH) Communiqué  
This follows the adoption in 2017 of the law on the conservation of water and wet environments, to ensure the strict maintenance of these sensitive environments in Quebec. It is expected that the MRC will be able to count on the collaboration of various agencies in the development of the PRMHH, including those of watersheds and the Conseils régionaux de l’environnement (CRE).  The Department also presented a guide of elaboration of such a tool. The plan must be submitted to the Minister no later than June 16, 2022.

More: 17 projets pour protéger les milieux humides du sud du Québec, Gaïa Presse 

* Ouranos: A non profit organization that develops and coordinates projects by tapping into a network of approximately 450 researchers, experts, practitioners and policy-makers from a variety of disciplines.

By Carl Chapdelaine

Characterization of aquatic plants at LSFX, CRE 2019

In the wake of its crusade against aquatic exotic invasive plants (AEIP)), and more particularly in its fight against the Eurasian water-milfoil (LCMAE program), the CRE - Laurentides had offered, in 2018, training for volunteers and a support to the organizations for the protection of lakes, for the purposes of using its protocol of characterization of aquatic plants. CRE had already participated in the protocol of detection and follow-up of the AEIP in Quebec resort lakes through the VLMP (RSVL) of the Ministry of the Environment. 
The document released this week gives the results of this operation of characterization of aquatic plants in lakes that benefited from it last year, including Lake St. François-Xavier. Probably following a call from the Lake association, it is noted that ten volunteers have made this work of identification at the Lake. 39 bodies of water in the Laurentides have also had right to the mapping of the main seagrass that were identified.
The report provides comprehensive coverage of the region served by the CRE – Laurentides. However, it describes the specific characteristics of the different lakes studied.
Here is a reproduction of the list of plants identified in Lake S-F-X with their French translation. Note that there is no trace of the Eurasian water-milfoil. This invasive exotic plant would be absent from the Lake; however, the waterscope used could not allow to see if there would have been any beyond 3-5 meters of depth. Native milfoil is however present in the Lake.

Brasénie de Schreber ==Water-shield
Éponge d'eau douce ==Freshwater sponge
Ériocaulon septangulaire ==Seven-angled pipewort
Gazon long (groupe) ==Long grass? (group)
Lobélie de Dortmann ==Water lobelia
Mousse fontinale ==Fontinalis moss 
Rubanier (groupe 1) ==Bur-reed (1st group)
Myriophylle indigène (groupe 1) - espèce 1 ==Water-Milfoil (1st group – 1st species)
Myriophylle indigène (groupe 1) - espèce 2 ==Water-Milfoil (1st group – 2nd species)
Naïas souple ==Slender Naias
Nénuphar à fleurs panachées ==Variegated Pond-Lily
Nitella ==Nitella
Nymphéa ==Water-Lily
Nénuphar à petites feuilles ou faux-nymphéa à feuille cordée ==Floating-heart
Pontédérie cordée ==Pickerel-weed
Pontédérie cordée (f. taenia Fassett) ==Pickerel-weed f. taenia Fassett
Potamot (groupe 3) ==Pondweed (group 3)
Potamot (groupe 4) espèce 1==Pondweed (group 4) – 1st species
Potamot (groupe 4) espèce 2==Pondweed (group 4) – 2nd species
Potamot (groupe 4) espèce 3 ==Pondweed (group 4) - 3rd species
Prêle ==Horsetail
Rubanier (groupe 2) ==Bur-reed (2nd group)
Utriculaire (groupe 1) ==Bladderwort (1st group)
Utriculaire (groupe 2) ==Bladderwort (2nd group)
Utriculaire (groupe 3) - espèce 1 ==Bladderwort (3rd group) 1st species
Utriculaire (groupe 3) - espèce 2 ==Bladderwort (3rd group 2nd species

Source: Atlas des lacsReport CRE, p. 96

Carl Chapdelaine

Our Lakes also warm

For several years, we have learned that some readings of the lakes water temperature, at various parts of the globe, indicate that they undergo a gradual warming. We suspect or we state, according to various interpretations, that it is due to climate change. Charles Côté, from La Presse1, reports the results of a first major international study published in the Geophysical Research Letters in December 2015 and showing that the water temperature rise, for the 235 Lakes of the sample, is real and can be associated with the warming of our planet2.
The reporter pointed out that, because the 25 years historical data needed could not be found, none of these lakes is however located in Quebec. Yet such data must exist, even if being only for Lake Saint-Jean; but according to researcher Reinhard Pienitz, of the Center for Northern studies at Laval University, we actually show a certain delay in this compilation.1

The study combines data collected in the field with that observed by satellite. This association has allowed scientists to draw conclusions that weigh local findings; the latter being more prone to interactions with other variables that can influence the temperature of lake water, such as geomorphology, geology or various watershed specific disturbances.  

On average, the surface of these Lakes water warms by 0.34 ° C (1/3 of a Celsius degree) per decade. This percentage is higher than for air (0.25 ° C per decade) or for the oceans (0.11 ° C per decade). However, this average masks regional and even local differences which do not allow us to apply it to a lake in particular.

"The trend is even stronger for the lakes which are covered with ice for part of the year. The ice cover do not last as long and so lakes warm up much faster. 'By contrast, trends [in temperature] for ice-free lakes are closer to solar radiation and air temperature trends', write the researchers."1

According to a study published in "Global Change Biology", Lake Baikal, in Siberia, which contains about 20% of the world's fresh water, has warmed up by 1.21 ° C since 1946. It's faster than the parallel increase in the temperature of the atmosphere. The duration of its annual ice cover has decreased by 18 days.3

Among the variables influencing the degree of warming of lakes, their size and depth necessarily play the key role. What is more worrying is that, according to the scientists, the more a lake is little, the more it should be affected by the phenomenon; but the various hydrological factors do not permit a so simple correlation.4

As you already know, the consequences of this increase in the temperature of our lakes are, of course, not without consequence. If climate change brings stronger and more frequent precipitation, potentially causing an increased contribution of phosphorus in lakes from watersheds, rising of the temperature of the water adds several effects to the first threat, as less oxygen in deep areas.5  However, according to a survey of 26 lakes around the planet, even if climate change is affecting the thermal stratification of the water of the lakes (temperature according to different layers), the correlation between this stratification and trends of changes in temperature on the surface is overall low.6

As does Charles Côté, three mainly negative consequences of warming of the Lakes listed in the international study should be noted:
·        More algae
Algae are expected to increase by 20% in one hundred years; and among them, the blue-green algae or cyanobacteria, by 5%, while affecting more and more Northern Lakes. In addition, emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, would increase by 4 percent over the next decade.
·         Lower level of the Lakes
Warmer water will evaporate more quickly; which, in itself, would cause a decline in the level of the lakes. (But if the precipitation increase in watersheds, would the effect not oppose to this phenomenon?)
·         Invasive species

Warming of Lakes can disrupt ecosystems in place. Species of plants, mollusks, fish or other appear in our lakes from areas further south, including undesirable invasive species. "The Smallmouth Bass currently spreads in Canadian lakes because the water is getting warmer. It competes with Lake Walleye and Lake Trout," says Sapna Sharma, of the Faculty of biology at York University, co-author of the study.1

The searchers then submit that climate impacts must now be identified as one of the factors of lakes vulnerability, for which we need therefore seek preventive and corrective measures. Whether of their flora, of their wildlife, of the impact on their eutrophication, etc., we can imagine that lakes studies, by limnology or another science, will now have to devote a part of their research to assess the consequences of their global warming. Will we provide the essential data that will qualify Lake Saint-François-Xavier for being included in future studies on our lakes? 


Without prejudice, by Carl Chapdelaine

With the use of Microsoft Translator and Linguee.

120 KV power line in St. Adolphe

The MRC Council request to the Premier of Quebec, Mr. François Legault, and the Minister of l’Environnement et la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (the environment and the fight against climate change), Madam MarieChantal Chassé, "to require that Hydro-Québec uses the necessary resources and expertise to assume its responsibilities for the protection of the environment and Lakes of St. Adolphe-d’Howard, including on issues related to the spring flood". 

The resolution, adopted on November 28, 2018, also had to be sent to the Member for Argenteuil, Ms. Agnès Grondin, and to the Minister responsible for the Laurentides region, Ms. Sylvie D'Amours. 

MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut

Par Carl Chapdelaine

The 120 kV power line in St-Adolphe-d’Howard

On the project of the 120 kV power line between the Grand-Brûlé station, in Mont-Tremblant, and the municipality of Saint-Sauveur, the announcement on December 7th, by the Minister of the environment and the fight against climate change, Ms. MarieChantal Chassé, of the issuance of a notice of order * to Hydro-Québec, follows a succession of several offences under the law on the quality of the environment (EQA). Communiqué du MELCC

The type of infringement reported by employees of the Department along this power line and which can inform us about our own obligations, lies primarily in what follows, do we understand. (Some encroachments on wetlands or other damage to the environment were however allowed.) :
1.       Failure to clean a bridge to be done regularly to avoid sedimentation in water courses.
2.       Filling in a watercourse bank for the development of an access road.
3.       Negligence of enforcement measures to "contain or divert the sediment when the drainage of the soil or the snow melt may lead sediment in a water course.
4.       Breach by the mandated contractor to ban 'any change in the shore topography of a watercourse without prior authorization from Hydro-Québec '. "All permanent or intermittent watercourse backfilling is not (more) permitted."
5.       Release or permission of "release of a contaminant (sediment)... from the path in shore or river bank..." 
6.       Breach of the obligation by the contractor to apply "of methods such as landscaping of slope of restraint, drains or ditches of derivation perpendicular to the slope... to reduce the risk of erosion on (such) land".

Thus, during an inspection carried out August 29, 2018, the Inspector of the MELCC found that there was, as a result of some of these failures, releases of sediment from the path of the work area of pylon 51 in Lake Massie, tributary of the Trois-Frères Lake, in Saint-Adolphe-of Howard. Last fall, the Department also received several emails from the municipality indicating the presence of sediment in these same watercourses. Ordonnance du MDDELCC

*An order seems to be meaning that an action is taken against the offending party.

With the use of Microsoft Translator

Par Carl Chapdelaine

A bit of plastics in our lakes?

At first glance, there is not much in the media on the subject, except for the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River or famous lakes in Europe and elsewhere, including Leman Lake. They receive the same plastics as the oceans of the planet: straws, bags and other, left on beaches or in the streams which flow in them. They could take hundreds of years to degrade. According to their density compared to that of fresh or saline waters, and depending on the strength of the current, plastic residue will float or sink; a small part, that you want to compare to the tip of an iceberg, will keep floating on the surface of the water.
But on a smaller scale, our beautiful Lake Saint-François-Xavier, like others, is not completely free of plastics that we dispose of into without well realize it. We have in mind, for example, the ropes of nylon (polyamide), polyethylene and polypropylene, or other plastic material, with which we moor our boats, our pontoons, our rescue or navigation buoys. Like me, you must have once scrapped your hands while tieing or pulling such ropes, especially when they are mostly worn out. You may also have seen multiple bits of strands detach from these old ropes and disperse over the water. But why throw away an old rope on which we rely for just doing its job?  
It is the use of the fishing ropes, often lost in the oceans, that drew attention on plastic pollution they generate; not to mention the disastrous collateral effects on the marine mammals or other that too often get tangled in them. A graduate student of Memorial University of Newfoundland attempted to reproduce the effect of friction of rope on a rough material in a basin. She has seen precisely at what speed they are broken down and what amount of plastic, and more specifically of microplastics, is coming off them. She also compared the speed of wear according to the type of plastic of which were manufactured the ropes. Those of polyethylene frayed a lot, while those of nylon resisted better; what could make fishermen (and waterfront residents) prefer the latter. Microplastics-fishing-rope

The floats or plastic barrels which support our pontoons, like the hulls of some of our boats, if they rub against the rock, must also release some plastic. And if you look hard enough, you would probably find other more important sources of this contaminant in the Lake or on its banks, as styrofoam articles, often very crumbly and from which fine particles may well, like a bottle in the sea, join our great St. Laurence River and flow around the globe. Think also of immersed pipes, pumps and filters, used by local residents, with their plastic ducks; the lost fishing lines and gears; culverts and the sediment pit scraped by sand and gravel. We must also add the filter cigarette butts, which are indeed made up of cellulose acetate, a plastic that takes fifteen years to degrade. 

Microplastics may end up in the food chain through the water of the Lake, if we drink it, and the fish that we eat. In the form of microballs for example, they "have exactly the right size to enter the food chain because they closely resemble the size of plankton eaten by fish", says Beatrix Beisner of the Département des sciences biologiques of the UQAM.  
If the headlines of the media made us aware of the pollution of our oceans by plastic, says Martin Wagner, Associate Professor of the NTNU's Department of Biology, they did not specify that most of these plastics are thrown into the lakes and watercourses (urbanized probably). But we live in the age of plastic, with lots of objects to get hold of as easily that we get rid of, without knowing of the consequences to our ecosystem. Growing concern over plastic pollution in rivers and Lakes  Dr. Montserrat Filella, of the University of Geneva, adds that we have not yet ruled on the impact of toxic components of plastic on the aquatic fauna of our lakes. The study on Lake Geneva is just a beginning. Hazardous Plastic Pollution In Lakes Too  
Questions that are well worth a bit of caution...

By Carl Chapdelaine

Water quality at SIM 23

Water quality at site 23 of the Simon River, September 26, 2018, according to Abrinord. (At the Lake Saint-François-Xavier’s outlet / head of Deer Lake.) At the end of September, the water coming out of Lake Saint-François-Xavier was excellent. The specific conductivity would be certainly less enviable in winter with the contribution, by runoff in this Lake of salt used on roads and the surrounding hills. 
iEAU: station SIM23 , Abrinord (See : «Derniers résultats par station».) Note : Complicate web browsing with iEAU…

Our MPP and Hydro’s power line  

What will decide Ms. Agnès Grondin, our new CAC member of the Legislative Assembly (Argenteuil), about the construction of the Hydro Quebec’s power line in Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard? Number of citizens do not want to see this structure in the landscape, especially since last summer when the current installation of tower 51 caused an important input of sediment in the Lake of the Three Brothers, a tributary of Lake Saint-Joseph.
Access journal reminds that, just before the election, the Coalition Avenir Québec promised to request the suspension of the work on this line from its eventual access to power and the holding of a true public consultation to determine its fate.
The Member, biologist and which, as we have already pointed out, has perfected her skills at management of CRE-Laurentides, Abrinord, then at the MRC of Argenteuil, today seems to hesitate in front of decisions, says the newspaper. Now that time is to administration rather than to promises, shall we say, she would like to give her new Government and Ministers concerned time to acquaint themselves with the case...

1.  Journal Accès, 31 oct. 2018, p. 6

2. La santé du lac

3. Wentworth-Nord

Par Carl Chapdelaine

Capricious phosphorus

What are the true rates of phosphorus in our lakes? In a large number of lakes, in 2016, the VLMP analysis revealed abnormally low levels of total phosphorus concentrations. "In many cases, these low values seemed inconsistent with the historical data."

In 2017, the Department of Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (sustainable development, the environment and the fight against climate change) has analyzed the situation and issued conclusions, without being able to identify the exact cause of this situation.

However, we know that plastics bottles used for sampling since 2009 contribute to underestimate the rate of phosphorus. On the other hand, "the sampling technique used by the VLMP is adequate."  In 2018, we had to go back to the once favorite glass container. 'The Department was to normalize phosphorus data obtained over the past decade by applying a correction factor'.

By Carl Chapdelaine

With the use of Microsoft Translator 

RSVL: état phosphore

Filling our lakes...

At the beginning of the month of July, following a violent storm, residents of Lake des Trois-Frères, flowing into Lake Saint-Joseph in Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard, realized that a mudslide had borrowed a stream and through small lake Massie had invaded Lake des Trois-Frères. And this disastrous event has been repeated since. "An engineer of public works of Saint-Adolphe visited on-site July 6 to inspect the site and determine the source of the sediment spill. His research enabled him to see that the main source of sediments comes from a very hilly site to accommodate the future pylon 56 and whose ground is reshaped using heavy machinery. Furrows and mudslides of earth point directly in the stream." The Municipality claims 

Hydro Quebec, that had initially denied any responsibility and that would have previously ensured that no negative environmental impact would arise in connection with this work, would so have here shown evidence of negligence and breach of regulation protecting the water courses.Indeed, any company or individual must implement all measures to prevent any flow of sediment when work affects the state of the ground. 

This disaster, obviously man-made judging by the version of the Municipality, reminds us too much of the spill of the content of Lake Thurs(t)on in Lake Saint-François-Xavier fifteen years ago. At the last annual meeting of the Association du lac Saint-François-Xavier, an intervention of a local resident pointed out that deposits which brought up the bottom of the affected Bay two to three feet up were always resting; that aquatic plants had now invaded the area and that local residents had never seen back the living environment that they were entitled to enjoy. According to him, if there was a priority project, that of a restoration of the original environment from the bottom of the Bay, (possibly to be submitted to the Lake St-François-Xavier Environmental Fund) that had not brought enough attention, it was this one.

It must be understood that, unlike the occasional presence of cyanobacteria, coliforms, physicochemical elements, etc., or even invasive plants, the accumulation of earth, sand and gravel in a lake has a permanent impact and can drastically speed up its normal and inevitable filling in the long term. Indeed, these particles do not disintegrate unlike organic sediments as submerged dead leaves which leave only a layer on the bottom of the order of a millimeter once broken down. Accumulated at the bottom of the lake, the particles of sand and gravel can only be evacuated in function, mainly, of the report of their volume and respective weights to the intensity of the current, of the strength of agglutination and the degree of slope of the spot where they were deposited. And that is as long as there is no impassable threshold for the heavier ones, as it exists at the outlet of Lake St-François-Xavier. Only a strong runoff caused by a violent storm or snow melt could increase the strength of this current which could dislodge them but also replace them with new sediments. And this whole process is not necessarily apparent; although simple enough sampling (sediment traps) and evaluation techniques are within our reach.

There is not only at as such events that damage to our lakes is carried out; the development and maintenance of the road network, the construction of runways and parking at the edge of water courses, the digging of ditches that run along roads and brings the runoff to lakes, the forest harvest or the cutting of trees or vegetation along the waterways by residents, as well as the passage of motorized boats that can erode the banks are the main recognized factors that accelerate the entire process of silent filling of our lakes.

But can we not consider the dredging in such cases, like the one that has been tried in the channel, at the foot of the big hill to the bridge of Montfort? This method seems in itself representing a risk of disruption of the one-time state of the Lake, including recirculation of precisely these deposited sediments at the bottom of the Lake, with the potential content of phosphorus, etc. However, we do not see how this last impact, small compared to that, permanent, of the original spill, prevents our Government agencies to allow the restoration of sites so affected. And as the Environmental Fund assets are the result of the class action after the disaster of the Lake Thurs(t)on, would it not be desirable that they can contribute to the environmental restoration here claimed?

By Carl Chapdelaine

Environment and Climate Change Canada
Journal Accès 

The aquatic forest ( " The dammed algae ." )

Presentation of Dr. Richard Carignan, August 4, 2018, organized by Arts et Culture de Lac-des-Seize-Îles & le CIEL.

There are algae, generally microscopic plants that are taken for aquatic plants. The latter are usually macroscopic and take root in the sediments at the bottom of the lake. There are finally the sponges (of fresh water).
   1. Diversity
  2. Operation
  3. Role
  4. Problems
       a) overabundance
       b) invasion  

1. Diversity

A hundred species, emergent, submerged, with floating leaves or floating.
Dr. Carignan shows his pictures of various plants. Some have various particles on their leaves; it's the periphyton. Then, on the screen, it's a dive in various Laurentian lakes. Some seem healthy, little invaded by aquatic vegetation, with clear water and fish. Others have sometimes worrying herbaria, including those of Eurasian watermilfoil. With bird's eye look, the herbaria of the latter are though confined mainly to the shores; in need of light, the plant does not easily take foot beyond a certain depth. And we review this schematic profile that combines a lake surrounded by human habitat and that of a still virgin lake; the first more loaded with aquatic plants and with greater sediment accumulation.

Some plants are invasive, not just the Eurasian watermilfoil. Some native plants can also become a nuisance equal to the latter.

From his observations over several decades, it seems to him that there is an increase in aquatic plants in the lakes of the Laurentians. But he cannot say with certainty what it globally depends upon (except for certain known causes). Is it due to climate change?

2. Operation

Plants feed (through their roots) into sediments. Thus, it is not so much the nutrient and chemical water content that defines a favorable growth environment, but rather that of sediments.

3. Role

   a. Support growth of periphyton and small organisms.
   b. Serve as refuges for smaller creatures, fish or others.
   c. Recycle sediments.
   d. ? 

4. Problems

Excessive vegetation, caused by too much nutrient inputs trapped in sediments.
    The case of Eurasian Watermilfoil.
         a. In fact, the latter can also draw on the sediments up to sometimes exhaust the quantity of appropriate nutrients; which ends up causing its decline. But after how many decades?
         b. Its control        Infested lakes   : Controlled harvesting and benthic carpets (jute). Costly means, requiring a lot of manpower and not 100% guaranteed.

                                      Unaffected lakes  : prevention. Beware of boats, seaplanes, etc. Introducing an invasive species into a stream in the United States is a criminal offense.

   a. Aquatic plants are important.
   b. They are an indicator of the quality of the water course.
   c. Their study is still too neglected by the MDDFLCC.


  1. ?  Ans.: The periphyton is an indicator.
  2. Mr. André Philippe Hébert: Would delimiting a navigation channel in Lake des-Seize-Îles to prevent the spread of Eurasian Watermilfoil be a good move?  Ans.: Not sure it would be effective.
  3. Have not some lakes seen the Eurasian Watermilfoil disappear? Ans.:  No; never completely!
  4. Can we control other (native) invasive plants? Ans.:  You will not easily get permission from Quebec.

           Various explanations of Dr. Carignan
              The normal sedimentation in our lakes is perhaps only one millimeter a year.
              Herbaria (grouping of aquatic plants) retain particles floating in the water.
  5. Would it be better to prevent leaves and dead trees from accumulating in a lake? Ans.: After decomposition and release of nutrients, etc., the annual accumulation of leaves does not represent much. Tree trunks, apart from the bark, do not release much material that may affect the quality of the water.

  6. And weevils to fight against Eurasian watermilfoil? Ans.:  These weevils attack the plant well, but they are not an effective remedy.
  7. Does not increased sedimentation promote the growth of aquatic plants, including Eurasian Watermilfoil? And, can we not statistically combine the analysis of various variables to evaluate the most suitable combination to such proliferation? Ans.:  A correlation has been observed between the bedrock of a lake and the proliferation of Eurasian Watermilfoil; thus, the presence of mineral salts is a factor that favors it. Similarly, road salt has contributed to the invasion in Lac-à-la-Truite.
  8. And aerators (windmills or other?) Ans.:  They are as useless as they are expensive. It must not be thought that devoting a budget to anything at all costs, such as the use of any experimental method whose properties are praised, is in itself a cure for a problem.
  9. A chemical treatment? Rep. We have been experimenting with it for 50 years ...
  10. Is the presence of shallow parts of a lake filled with aquatic plants disturbing? Rep. No; not necessarily.
  11. Does the accumulation of silt at the bottom of a lake result from sediment overload, as for lakes that have experienced logging? Ans.:     The presence of silt is normal in lakes; it results, we have understood, from the accumulation of fine particles in the places where the current is weakest.
12. What do you think of the Coalition Navigation crusade? Ans.:  We share some common concerns or approaches. Another question concerned the impact of motorized boats; but we could not note the answer. 

(With the use of Google translate.) 

By Carl Chapdelaine

Abrinord's iEAU

Abrinord, the Rivière du Nord’s watershed body, has unveiled an interactive web application: iEAU. This is the method chosen for the global dissemination of its Programme de suivi de la qualité des cours d’eau (monitoring results of the watercourses health) of this watershed. The goal of the program was "to address the issue of the lack of knowledge about the quality of the water". It began in 2010, with 23 sampling stations, and came to include 62 in 2018.

"Besides water quality results presented for each sampling stations, there are analyses by sub-watershed, as well as the results collected in dry and in wet weather, the latter being often associated with an increased contribution in contaminants to watercourses."

"For each sample collected monthly from April to November, three parameters are analyzed in the laboratory: suspended solids, phosphorus and fecal coliform. Since April 2018, specific conductivity is also measured using a water probe." (See the description of these parameters and standards adopted in the hyperlink given above.)

"If the quantity of suspended solids exceeds 13 mg/L, this could indicate problems of erosion and pose risks to aquatic life. Phosphorus, at a concentration higher than 0.03 mg/L, can cause excessive plant growth and contribute to the premature aging of water bodies. The specific conductivity of the water, on the other hand, may indicate a supply of mineral salts from road salts, dust suppressant or effluent (municipal, industrial or agricultural). Values greater than 2 000 μS/cm is of concern and may indicate particularly salt or polluted water." This contribution also seems to create a more receptive environment to the development of Eurasian watermilfoil, when introduced into a watercourse.

Let us recall that, in 2017, Abrinord has added a "witness (sampling) station" at the head of Deer Lake; so at the foot of Lake Saint-François-Xavier: Following the Plan d’action de cours d’eau pour la rivière à Simon (Watercourse Action Plan for the Rivière-à-Simon), "we have analyzed in detail the watershed and have determined that it would be interesting to add a witness station, station 42. It will be monitored for at least two years." The data obtained and which should be of interest to us may be no more collected in the future. That means well keep them in case they could be correlated with our data on the same variables that we collect through the VLMP (RSVL) or analysis for the coliform content of the water in the Lake. Following the creation of iEAU, numbers of sampling stations have been replaced by alphanumeric codes composed of three letters taken on the name of the stream and of the distance in km between the station and its outlet in the collector watercourse. Station 42 became SIM23.

iEAU is obviously associated with an interactive map (that one must learn to master...). After having located station SIM23, under "Derniers résultats par station", you can open 4 tables*. The fourth tells us that, at the time of sampling, June 20, 2018, the pH was 6.99, temperature 22,30 ° and salinity to 0. You can also click on the selection tool, at the top left of the map, before you click on the SIM23 station; you then get in addition counters with arrows indicating the value of the fecal coliforms (1 UFC/100), total phosphorus (0.005 mg/L), suspended solids (1 mg/L) and the specific conductivity (45.5 µS/cm). (*Selection tool must be disabled to allow the opening of the tables).

We can find the 2017 data for SIM23 in '2010-2017’. We should however not too quickly welcome figures that do not exceed the standards, because overall emphasis seems to be on stations in much more alarming water points of urbanized areas of the Rivière-du-Nord’s watershed. We could compare, for example, SIM23 data with those of SIM8, further downstream, in the municipality of Morin-Heights. On 20 June, the pH was there to 7.71, temperature 21,40 ° and salinity to 0.1. Fecal coliforms (58 UFC/100), total phosphorus (0,009 mg/L), suspended solids (2.6 mg/L) and the specific conductivity (103.4 µS/cm).

Note: The release of Abrinord of July 6, 2018, received in a newsletter, is the source of the content and the quotes from our article.

With the use of Microsoft Translator and Linguee

The Rivière Du Nord’s Water Quality; Rivière à Simon, station 42

By Carl Chapdelaine

Lake Health 101  Presentation-Workshop

 (Proposed by the ALSFX and held at the Pavilion of Montfort, June 23, 2018.)
The Association du Lac Saint-François-Xavier was right; the presentation of Mr. Mathieu Madison and exchanges with the 20 people of the assistance of the Pavilion of Montfort would generate a lot of interest. Especially people from Newaygo came to participate in this event. And they weren't only ALSFX’s members; you could also see the President of the Association du lac Chevreuil, Ms. Judith Smith, and others from around far more.
Mr. Madison is a young and already experienced biologist, teacher at Collège de Rosemont, in Montreal, and excellent bilingual communicator. He is also president of our Rivière du Nord watershed body, Abrinord. He had favoured the formation of tables around which all were settled. Lakes health, with Lake Saint-François-Xavier as an example, would be at the heart of his subject.
Everything we could get in just over two hours; the answer to many questions of the room; the desire to take action tomorrow; this is what you would get from this presentation-workshop.*
The speaker wanted to take us on five points on the Lake Environment; we seized three: lake health, the watershed and navigation (access and the impact of boats).
1. Lake Health 

   a) Its trophic status: we know of the VLMP (RSVL) protocols applied to Lake St-François-Xavier for several years. The determination of the transparency of the water, three chemical components (the average summer concentration of chlorophyll a, total phosphorus and dissolved organic carbon) which describe a lake currently weakly affected by eutrophication; and finally the extent of periphyton. But Mr. Madison insists on the fact that we have actually two lakes here and no not one alone, and that the estimated values by the protocols of the VLMP for a single entity cannot apply perfectly to two lakes; they must be pretty significantly different in the two basins.He will subsequently add, at our table, that the VLMP protocols allow a comparison between the lakes, but that a study of other variables must be made on each to get a more accurate picture.
   b) The quality of the water for current uses: We immediately think of the coliform content analyses assigned to specialized firms and on which Mr. David Clark did an historical analysis. The latter will have also the opportunity to present the results of his analysis to Mr. Madison, have we learned.Here has resurfaced the issue of unwanted excess phosphorus supply in the Lake and the role of septic systems, as well as the protection of the shore, in control of this input of human origin. These are not only houses along the Lake which are concerned; those more upstream in the watershed also play a role.
2. The watershed 

The watershed of Lake St-François-Xavier, a Headwater Lake, is relatively small and the rate of renewal of the water of the Lake is fast. (The more this rate is slow, the more the introduction of pollutants will affect a lake. In this respect, its ecosystem is consequently more vulnerable. The shape and the depth of a lake contribute to determine this rate.)
Deforestation of a watershed, as the disappearance of the plant gate on the banks of a lake, will encourage a most important contribution of sedimentation. These sediments contain organic material that introduces phosphorus in the Lake. This contribution, added to other sources of erosion and sedimentation caused by the presence of the human habitat, is therefore to be monitored.
3. Navigation 

Here, access to the Lake and the introduction to fear of Eurasian watermilfoil stole the spotlight. Municipalities can adopt measures of protection of the environment; but they cannot forbid access to the lakes to anyone. Abrinord suggests being careful in the way to address the sensitive issues that these uses of the Lake can hold. It was asked if the SQ could control the application of regulations on the washing of boats.
Reports from the tables

The points raised here include:
-       The question of the maintenance of septic systems.
-       Changes in the level of the water of the Lake and the need to allow a better evacuation of the water out.
-       Safety on the Lake.
-       The characterization of aquatic plants, to identify the possible presence of Eurasian watermilfoil. The role of the CRE here comes into play.
-       The need to have a regular follow-up by a biologist on the state of the Lake, mainly in relation to the possible presence of invasive plants. The training of volunteers in support of the surveillance work.
-       The importance of fighting against sedimentation.
-       The will to take action for the environment of the Lake and its watershed; not to mention the prevention of any transfer of pollutant or other into Deer Lake and the Rivière à Simon.

We learned the interest of the ALSFX to possibly ask for a service mandate to Mr. Madison to look closer at Lake St-François-Xavier’s health...
* Unfortunately for the undersigned, the projector not working, all communications were verbal and mainly in English. Despite the frequent translations, our ability to hear and follow the words was often exceeded. You need to find other sources to find out the content.

Par Carl Chapdelaine

W-N, fight against Eurasian watermilfoil in Lake, report

Note: Text revised on June 5.

Presentation on the fight to Eurasian watermilfoil in a lake, by Mr. André Philippe Hébert.

Held May 27 at Laurel. Organized by Mr. Emmanuel Farmer, Director of the Urban-planning and Environment services, and presided by W-N’s councilor, Mr. David Zgodzinski; with question period.

In his presentation, using a slide show and homemade tools, Mr. Hébert was assisted by resource persons. Aimed at executives of lake associations of Wentworth-Nord, the meeting title was "Fight against the Eurasian Watermilfoil in Lakes Laurel and Sixteen-Islands: recognition, awareness and containment tools". The theme was composed of four sequences:
1.) How to identify the plant and what tools and educational sessions are available to you?
2.) How to mark and segregate a growth of Milfoil in a lake?
3.) Notification of lake residents, municipality and provincial organizations.
4.) Methods for containment of Milfoil growth.
1.) Identification and tools

If possible, you will benefit from a '’characterization of the lake" by specialists using an echo sounder fitted with a transducer for detection of submerged vegetation, with mapping results giving the nature and location of plants. If such a large scale approach is unaffordable, ideally use a rowboat and a waterscope allowing you to better see beneath the surface of the water from the boat. This will allow identifying the plant and, at the next step, delimiting with buoys and spaghetti shaped beacons the affected zones. The first method is needed for a large lake such as the Sixteen Islands one, where the areas invaded by the milfoil could amount to several football fields (96 000 m2). This Lake flows into Lake Laurel1; both are part of the watershed of the Rivière Rouge.   

Several notes on the plant and the operations described here will mark the presentation, as on the choice of the periods of the summer season for proceeding. Thus, while the temperature of the water varies according to depth in summer, this distinction disappears in the fall. On this May 27, the Eurasian watermilfoil, which renews itself each spring, measured only a few centimeters and was covered by a layer of sediment spread by the current. The planned visit on the Lake was therefore postponed...

Explanations from Mrs. Heather McCullough, representing the MRC of Argenteuil on the Board of Directors of the Conseil régional de l’environnement des Laurentides (CRE) and Mrs. Denise Cloutier, of the Association Lac Laurel, would teach us a lot on the Eurasian watermilfoil. In 2016, the MRC of Argenteuil had decided to make the issue of the aquatic exotic invasive plants, the AEIP, a priority of action; the CRE had then developed its first plan in this sense. 

It should be noted, according to Mrs. McCullough, that the Eurasian watermilfoil settles between 1 and 10 meters of depth only. It clings to the bottom of the lake and can so grow up to several meters to reach the surface. It grows in tight ranks as hay, creating real plant forests under the surface of the water. It usually produces a small spike of red flowers; what didn't happen in 2017. But this mode of reproduction account for only a small percentage in its propagation. What is here the most to worry about is it's swarming by fragments taken from a mother plant. These fragments float and sail well over water with the current and wind. That's why mowing the plant with a motor propeller, by human manipulation or any other way increases its spread. 

Once found, you can cut a piece of the plant suspected to be Eurasian watermilfoil and put it in a plastic bag with water to bring it back. Spread out on a work table, you will carefully count the number of thread-like leaflets (from 12 to 24) on more than one of the 4 leaves whorled around them and check if the space between its leaflet whorls measure from 1 to 3 cm to differentiate the plant from native milfoil. And even that wouldn't be enough when one would be in the presence of hybrids between the two of them which have now developed.

Guides, from CRE among others, are available to identify the Eurasian watermilfoil, maybe in a preliminary way, and distinguish it from other aquatic plants.2 You will be able to view one of these guides at either boat wash of W-N, announced Mr. Farmer. A more comprehensive computer tool, "Sentinelle"3, from the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques: MDDELCC (Department of sustainable development, the environment and the fight against climate change), allows you to find the photo and description of the species you are looking for, plant or animal, and to compare it with the one you want to identify. Using your mobile phone with a GPS, you can also add the photo and the location of the plant that you have photographed on-site to the observations bank of Sentinelle. This allows mapping the location of the types of invasive plants across the province.  

The CRE can also help municipalities and associations for the protection of lakes by training and coaching of volunteers for the characterization of aquatic plants and more specifically for the detection of the AEIP.2 These trained volunteer patrollers can be assisted by CRE on the premises; but the resources of the Agency for such support already seem all monopolized for 2018. Remains the possibility to register for a training session; there will be one in St. Adolphe-d’Howard on June 22.

The Centre d’Interprétation des Eaux Laurentiennes (CIEL)4, originally formed by a group of divers who explore the waters of the Laurentians, may also help you. Located at Lac-des-Seize-Îles, it will offer a permanent exhibition of some of its finds, including archaeological artifacts, on the 3rd floor of the City Hall, starting at 7 pm, June 21, the National Aboriginal Day. It’s Director, Mr. Jean-Louis Courteau, who has been of invaluable help for the fight against the milfoil in that Lake and in Lake Laurel, was present to answer questions from the floor. CIEL can count on the collaboration of experts and contacts in various fields, including Dr. Richard Carignan. (We should be appealing to CIEL to check if there really is a railway wagon lost on the bottom of Lake St. François-Xavier...)

2.) How to mark and segregate a growth of Eurasian watermilfoil on a lake?

As indicated in the first part, we find the limits of the infestation; then buoys and beacons are used to isolate the areas to be addressed, while inviting boat drivers not crossing these. We proceed after midsummer, explains Mr. Hébert. The buoys are mounted on metal rods and anchored at the bottom using concrete blocks to which are fixed chains, themselves attached to the buoys with ropes. The buoys must be removed in the fall to not be moved by ice in winter. Each is replaced by two floating empty plastic bottles to facilitate the identification of the locations the following summer. Moreover, their position has to be reviewed each new season of growth and territorial evolution of the plant. The buoys are also fitted with a solar light. Everything is, when possible, homemade, because associations usually do not have the financial means to do better. (The associations who look at the laying of big buoys indicating to respect speed limits know the method.) A poster with the letters PRIV must indicate that these aren't navigation buoys.

These buoys and the identified areas are positioned with GPS; eventually allowing a geographer to make a map of the Lake showing the extent of invasion and even the path of its evolution over the years. At the Sixteen Islands Lake, where most of the residences are accessible only by water, it has thus been noted that the plant spreads by following the branching of the corridors taken individually by the inhabitants to their cottage.

3.) Notification of lake residents, municipality and provincial organizations. (Mrs. Cloutier)

Annual lake associations’ general meetings are opportunities to inform and educate at least their members on the situation. Films screening, as in the "popcorn movies" by the Laurel Lake Association; door to door (dock to dock), or similar means also help to further advance the cause. Dr. Carignan produced a film called: "Aquascope, de science et de poésie".

But there is often the need to know how to approach and convince those who are not aware of the danger as for, among others, visitors. Even some owners are not convinced of the seriousness of the problem or of their own impact on the situation, as for the water circulation induced by the motor of their boat which can spread the infestation. At the Sixteen Islands Lake, the authorities didn’t seem more convinced these last years of the usefulness of fight against the invasion, believing that the situation might stabilize. It is true that the evolution of the Eurasian watermilfoil follows a natural cycle that can go up to its decline. But the situation worsened seriously at this Lake, leading the authorities to look for ways to act.

4.) Methods for containment of the Eurasian watermilfoil growth.

The Lake Laurel Association had seen at the fabrication of a floating boom to pick up floating fragments of plants from the Sixteen Islands Lake coming through its spillway in Lake Laurel. After the landslide that had swept away houses and other debris in this Lake, a log boom had already been built to block the passage. But government authorities did not allow the use of nets, likely to capture fish. They will propose another type of barrier, a floating boom without a net, for Government approval this year.

The use of biodegradable jute canvas placed at the bottom of a lake to fully cover, at the beginning of season, an area where milfoil settled, showed its effectiveness elsewhere. Other aquatic plants can grow through the net; but not the Eurasian watermilfoil. And this burlap eventually decomposes by itself. But its use should be, here also, authorized by the MDDELCC and the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs. In addition, it was found, according to Dr. Carignan, that it was creating a favorable environment for a possible reimplantation of the invasive plant. 

Question period

1. Why do governments prevent the use of the means to combat the Eurasian watermilfoil tested by the associations? Answer: It already seems that there is a lack of coordination between departments or between their head office and their regional branches regarding the fight against invasive aquatic plants.

2. What does Dr. Carignan say on methods used at Lake Laurel and the Sixteen Islands Lake? Mr. Courteau's response: He agrees in general with the experimental use of methods given in specific cases and under scientific supervision. He himself helped to assess some. But he could not state the use of such or such method advocated overcoming Eurasian watermilfoil to be truly effective, unless there is now unanimity among specialists. About the lifecycle of milfoil, research is still ongoing. It seems that it can indeed grow, then undergo, a period of calm or decay. But it is difficult to predict its behavior for any specific watercourse.

Little is known about the reasons why some are more welcoming than others. A correlation between the rate of water salinity and the development of the plant could be highlighted. [As could be seen recently with the presentation of Mrs. Mélissa Laniel, from CRE, in Ste. Adèle on invasive plants, "transparent lakes with sediments rich in nutrient and with a high conductivity (high sodium and calcium concentrations) are more severely colonized."5]. Lake à la Truite, at the edge of the Laurentian highway, formerly saturated with salt, was severely colonized by the Eurasian watermilfoil. So you would think that the small basin "of the Church" from Lake Saint-François-Xavier, which receives residues of roadsalt on the Great hill in Montfort, as well as the Deer Lake below, offer a high colonization potential in the event of the possible introduction of this plant in the Lake.

3.. Shouldn’t the installation of a barrier between an infested lake and a lake downstream be a priority in the fight against colonization of a watershed by this invasive plant? Answer: CIEL is working on this issue, in consultation with experts.

4.. R. Noël, Pres. ALSFX. Is there a plan of intervention of the Municipality, in the event of the discovery of the presence of Eurasian watermilfoil in Lake Saint-François-Xavier for example? Councilor Zgodzinski response: the Municipality inspectors may not exercise control on each of the 105 lakes of its territory. We need the collaboration of the associations for the protection of lakes. Through events like this one, by the avant-garde methods put forward at Lake Laurel and with the acquired experience, we want to be at the forefront in addressing this threat. 

Note: USB key of the slideshow presentation available from Mr. Farmer.

1.   News (Archives 2014)
2.  A) CRE's guides, tools, formation. B) Formation sessions
3.  Sentinelle
4.  CIEL
5.  CRE's presentation on Fight against Eurasian watermilfoil

By Carl Chapdelaine

With the use of Microsoft Translator and Linguee.

VLMP (RSVL) results 2017

The analysis by the Volunteer Lake-Monitoring Program of the results of the tests, conducted by the Association du lac Saint-François-Xavier in 2017, shows some variations but seems to fit in the average since 2008.

The transparency of water, measured on 11 occasions during the season with the Secchi disk, was of a depth of 3.7 meters, against an average of 4,2 m for the 10 years studied. It's slightly murky water according to government experts.

For one of the three chemical components, the average summer concentration of chlorophyll α (μg/l), the data was of 2.6 μg/l. It was on the rise compared to 2016 but always consistent in the long-term with the average of 2.5. It reveals a "slightly high biomass of microscopic algae in suspension".

The average summer concentration of total phosphorus (µg/l) was of 3.2 µg/l, against a long-term average of 4 μg/l; making it "water very little enriched by this nutrient ".

Finally, the average concentration of dissolved organic carbon was of 4 mg/l, compared to a multiyear average of 4.1 mg / l., indicating that the water is colored. This also has "an impact on the transparency of the water".

"All of the physicochemical variables measured in one of the areas of deep water of Lake St. François-Xavier relate its trophic status to an oligotrophic class." This observation would describe a lake weakly or not affected by eutrophication.

The VLMP conclusions are however inconsistent with the historical analysis of the tests on the water quality for decades and recently compiled by Mr. David Clark. Indeed, there is no doubt in our mind that the current situation is far from that of the original state of the Lake. However, it remains to the historical analysis to be submitted to the attention of the experts in the field. The Lake will also be submitted to global warming that will only help to fuel our fears on a possible degradation of its water quality.

The authors of the report remind us that the variables studied are not sufficient to judge the state of aging of a lake. "Some components of the shoreline such as aquatic plants, periphyton and sediments" should also be considered.

Carl Chapdelaine

Sommaire des résultats
Qualité de l'eau 2017
Suivi 2008- 2017

Fight against the Eurasian water-milfoil (FAAEIP). 

Debriefing notes on the presentation of May 11, 2018 of the CRE-Laurentides.

President, Mr. Philippe Roy, Managing Director, Ms. Anne Léger, and the officers of the Conseil régional de l’environnement des Laurentides welcomed more than 200 people filling the great Hall of the Place des Citoyens of Sainte-Adèle. Mrs. Mélissa Laniel, in charge of the FAAEIP project, would make the presentation. This meeting, to which would be added a second one in La Conception, on May 17, would allow the unveiling of the results of the survey conducted last winter and planned activities for the summer 2018 as part of this project.  

With a full-time staff of only three persons, the CRE covers the vast administrative region of the Laurentides up to the Mille-Îles River in the South. The territory includes seven MRC and 76 municipalities. The CRE is working with more than 300 lake associations.

More and more watercourses of the Laurentians are declared colonized by the Eurasian water-milfoil, this invasive plant from Asia and that does not appear to have found an enemy in our lakes. A round table, with the participation of the prefects of the late Conseil régional des Élus (CRÉ), of experts from the Government, etc., followed by a survey in 2015, had already allowed imagining the project. But, following the abolition of the CRÉ by Quebec, it is only lately that its start-up became possible. The lakes of the MRC Argenteuil would be used for experimentation in 2016-17. A grant of $ 100,000 from the federal Government as part of the EcoAction Community Funding Program1, would now allow extending the project to the whole region.

The project was based on the prospect of curbing the spread of the invasive plant, by the awareness of the users among other things. The use of descriptive signs, information on the characteristics of the plant, its mode of introduction in watercourse, how to identify it, to detect it, etc., were targeting this goal. It was more so to prevent than to heal, to find and experiment methods to fight against the invasion already established. The publication by the CRE of the famous Guide on how to avoid an invasion by aquatic exotic invasive plants2 would support this approach.  

But in these efforts the CRE did not forget to help residents of the lakes in their fight. It was so important to identify the factors favoring the development of the plant, the methods to avoid or those to combat its spread, and the tools to be chosen. To this day, we don't know yet all the determinants in the colonization of a watercourse by the Eurasian water-milfoil, once introduced. Some seem less vulnerable than others to its establishment. Certainly, this is an aquatic plant that benefits, like the others, of any contribution in phosphorus. An imbalance in the chemical components of the water of a lake, often due to an increase in phosphorus, usually comes from human presence. "Transparent lakes enriched with sediments loaded in nutrients and with a high conductivity (high in sodium and calcium concentrations) are more severely colonized (more vulnerable)."3

The goal of joining the main public players and organizations that can play a major role in the project was equally important for the success of FAAEIP. This should lead to the holding of a forum in autumn 2018 to put every effort in common.

The project was announced on November 23, 2017. A meeting was held with experts in February 2018, while the survey, on the same month, had obtained 101 participations from associations and 42 from municipalities. Among the lakes where officials have requested and will get special attention from the CRE in 2018, there are all those of Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs; closer to home, we find the Notre-Dame and Deer Lakes. 27 Lakes have thus been targeted in the MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut for the season. 11 000 guides in French and 4,000 in English will have been made available to the public.

Protection of lake associations and municipalities responded to the survey by asking to be candidates for the CRE patrols. These will take place on 90 lakes in 2018. Identifying the accesses on the lakes to boats of visitors likely to carry fragments of the milfoil was also part of the game. Two liaison officers will travel the region to this end this summer. Some lake organizations or municipalities will have the assistance service for the characterization of the lakes (aquatic plants, etc.). The CRE hopes that an up-to-date map of the lakes and watersheds affected in the Laurentians be developed to better visualize the situation.

For those who have not yet ordered descriptive panels on the danger of the spread of invasive plants, another order of the CRE will soon take place; one should ask for it before June 8. Thereafter, it will always be possible, but at indeterminate cost or delays.
There will be training days for those who register.

At the question period, Mrs. Laniel recalled, among other things, the importance of the inspection and cleaning of boats. This approach seems simplest to implement, by directive or regulation, while providing a good efficiency. Eurasian water-milfoil particles are visible to the naked eye, when they are on the surface, and can then be easily removed. The CRE can help municipalities and organizations with the content of a regulation or a directive to control the spread of invasive plants. With regulations and guidelines similar for all lake or municipalities, the visitor could more easily expect what to do.

Note: It is here a partial report, freehand, hoping the soon availability of Mrs. Laniel’s explanatory notes projected during the session.
1.   EcoAction
2.  Guide

3. Unveiling of the project

Carl Chapdelaine

Access to water 

(An overview of the commitment of Abrinord on this topic.)
"The development of the Master Plan of water (Plan directeur de l’eau: PDE) is the first remit of a watershed organization. It is the reference document that draws up the state of knowledge on the water resources of the territory."1 It is also a planning tool that determines the actions to perform. The PDE is developed in consultation with various stakeholders in the field of water, including protection of Lake Associations.
It should be noted that, in their approach, watershed organizations are not confined to the physical and environmental aspects of the territory; they target a broader management which resulted in the designation of areas of integrated water management (Zones de Gestion Intégrée de l’Eau: 40 ZGIE in Quebec.)2 PDE apply to these ZGIE, without being restricted to administrative borders, which may differ from the perimeter of the latter. In addition to the catchment area of the Rivière du Nord, the ZGIE of Abrinord includes five small watersheds that border the Ottawa River and that flow directly into.3 It is the second PDE and it covers the period 2013-2018; a third version is currently in the making. The PDE begins with the Portrait, which has 260 pages and contains a large mass of information on the territory and its waterways. Among other things there are some aggregated data of the VLMP which we can compare with those of any lake in particular. The Portrait is followed by the Diagnosis (Diagnostic), which analyzes the information presented in the previous document and prioritizes the issues with the actors on the territory. Finally, the Action Plan (Plan d’action) focuses on the interrogations related to these issues and is proposing actions to change the situation.
The quality of the water has been at the forefront of the concerns which have guided the development of the Action Plan. This orientation is perhaps following the recognition of the worrying state of the River which crosses the main urban agglomerations of the Laurentian Plateau, North of Montreal, and especially of St. Jerome. Remember that "the Rivière du Nord flows from North to South over a distance of 147 km. It takes its source in the Lake of the Montagne noire (Lantier)", in the High Laurentians, continues towards South-South-East on the Laurentian Plateau, then turns West in the St. Lawrence Lowlands. to join the Ottawa River via Lachute. From its source to its outlet, it presents, in total, "a drop of more than 430 meters". Its watershed "includes 1143 lakes of over one hectare".

The PDE has selected six issues: water quality, quantity or availability of water, ecosystems, access to water bodies, safety and culturality (e.g.: cultural heritage or property value of waterfront properties).4 Among those, access to water bodies is moreover one of the five orientations of the "National Policy on Water (2002)5; but "it is a sensitive and complex subject..."  Out of the issue, Abrinord made a project that focused on drawing a portrait of the situation and implying to consult stakeholders through a survey and a round-table. At once, the portrait recalls the legal framework which attributes to the State ownership of the bed of lakes and streams and which gives anyone the right to move, to navigate, to fish and to bathe in these premises, if legally accessed.
On November 10, 2016, Abrinord brought together 30 participants at the round-table where different points of view were to be expressed and which gave rise to the development of a "Guide for reflection"6 to accompany the action of the Agency and of the stakeholders. The guide was addressed mainly to the "managers of public access to a body of water (municipality, regional park, MRC, intermunicipal régie, etc.)." It could also be of interest to any person or organization concerned by the "public or private access to water bodies", as border lake owners’ associations. Among other things, it results from the vision carried in the guide that "bodies of water should be seen as a collective asset accessible to all ".
The guide also looks at the environmental dimension of access to bodies of water: support capacity, risk of impact on the environment and means of protection (ex: "prevention of the introduction of invasive species, awareness-raising measures, signalling of maximum speed, municipal publications"). This takes into account monitoring the quality of water for users and for the health of the watercourse itself.
The guide invites to distinguish the interests and concerns of the population as, among others, the potential conflicts "(ex: waterfront vs non-waterfront owners) when it is expected that access to a body of water might challenge waterfront owners who may be concerned about the health impacts on the water body, for their quality of life and the value of their property". "So, what is to be done to reduce and properly manage this risk (information, awareness, education, codes of ethics, etc.)?"
The guide retains two aspects of the economic dimension: pricing and development. Price or not; according to the service offered or the actual costs; etc.? "Is that access representing a tourist attraction? Does the access add value to nearby properties? Is the access allowing boosting a sector? "
Finally, the guide concludes that assessment must be made of a project of access according to the various aspects involved and that it must be evaluated in view of its concordance with the directions, concerns and interests of the stakeholders.
The watershed Agency for the Rouge, Petite Nation and Saumon Rivers, which covers most of the territory of Wentworth-Nord and for which the Ottawa River also collects the hydrographic networks, also has its PDE7

6. Guide de réflexion


With the use of Microsoft Translator                                                                                                                                                   Carl Chapdelaine

Rivière à Simon, station 42

Note: Links provided by Abrinord in this article don't seem to exist anymore. 

Following our article on the quality of the water of the Rivière du Nord, let us pull towards the watershed and the " Plan d’action de cours d’eau pour la rivière à Simon : Plan d'action pour la Rivière à Simon». 
(Due to a mistake in an automated formula, the results of the second table on the water quality at station 42 could be distorted "Tables".) This should be fixed in the coming weeks, were we confirmed at Abrinord.)

Remember that the team conducted two surveys in June 2017, rather than one monthly statement, answering the purpose of sampling one time in two after heavy rains. These have a strong impact on the water quality in the watershed. "There are significant overruns in view of criteria of quality of water at some stations and this allows us to make a connection with surface runoff and septic and sewer overflows."Recreational use of the water

Station 42 has been added as a "control station" for the Rivière à Simon’s watershed. "Our sampling program works as follows: it is improved from year to year and we are starting to pay more attention to sub-watersheds of the Rivière du Nord as and when the results provide us more details on the quality of the water." For that purpose, we choose a station close to the source of a stream that allows seeing the conditions upstream; it is the control station. There are also "section stations", often placed near identified point sources of pollution. Stations, said more integrative, downstream of a watercourse as the Rivière à Simon, give an indication of the quality of its water at its confluence with the Rivière du Nord. 

To the 20 stations in the watershed of the Rivière du Nord, designated at the beginning of the project (2010), others were added to get to the analysis of its sub-watersheds. The study should continue over several years "to get clearer analyses and reliable trends. "The municipality of Wentworth-Nord has funded station M14 for several years on the watershed of the Rivière de l’Ouest. It was put on pause for 2017 since this station was a control station and that the results had been consistent in recent years. While going on with the Rivière à Simon’s project, we have analysed more in detail the watershed and determined that it would be interesting to add a control station, the 42 one. It will be followed for at least two years."

Regarding the official source of the Rivière à Simon, indicated as being Lake Vingt Sous in the study, because it would be the farthest upstream, at least two other lakes are currently challenging for the first place. Would it not rather be Lake-à-la-Croix, as we asserted it, or Lake Anne as pointed up on a Map of 1897

Thanks to Abrinord for the information

Carl Chapdelaine

With the use of Microsoft Translator

The Rivière du Nord’s water quality

Abrinord, the body of the Rivière du Nord’s watershed, in collaboration with the municipalities of the territory, has a sampling program for the quality of the water of the river and its main tributaries Programme d'échantillonnage. Results of sampling for 2017 are now available.
On the interactive map, click on the + to enlarge; then locate station 42 (in the center of the dark turquoise area) at the outlet of Lake St. François-Xavier, on the Rivière à Simon. In the first table that opens, click on 'plus d'infos' for the graphics on the fecal coliforms, suspended matter and the total phosphorus. These are the only variables analyzed at this station for the time being. (The last two graphs of the second table show 2016, certainly following a technical error; it should read 2017). In fact, it was the first year of existence of this station). By comparing the two tables, you can tell if the statements were made in dry weather or rain. At station 42, it would have been one statement a month except for June, with a statement by dry weather and one by wet weather; this scenario is pre-determined by Abrinord, are we explained by the watershed body for the Rivière du Nord.

It should be noted that the months that get the worst ranking saw their sampling made in times of rain; what does not give us a valid comparison. In the rain, water which is not absorbed by the soil will dribble and head towards the rivers, carrying polluted sediment. Normally this factor explains the observed situation. Furthermore, a bad ranking in dry weather would be more worrisome, do we understand by reading the «multi-year report». In addition, we are told that bad scores for suspended solids and total phosphorus in October often result because the lakes are often at a low water level at this time. During a rainfall event, these accumulated materials and especially dead vegetation (aquatic plants, leaves) will then be transported by the current.

Despite the interest that there is to be able to associate these findings with those of the tests of the quality of the water of the lakes via the RSVL, we are told that the criteria are not the same for lakes and rivers. Thus, the lakes hold some of the pollutants they get; this is not the case of the rivers.

As for the older stations, it is expected that tables will show multi-year data for station 42 in future years; that is if the budgets allocated are sufficient… 

Carl Chapdelaine

With the use of Microsoft Translator

Our lakes and forests

With all the reports that you have seen on TV, environmental information, articles from newspapers or magazines, you may think that there are no more secrets on the lakes and the nature that surround you in Wentworth-Nord, in the Laurentides, in whole Quebec and even in the entire Canada. Yet, it is not the observation of groups of researchers who looked at various variables of the situation.
According to Yves Prairie, Professor of biological sciences at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), the lakes in Northern Quebec are in good condition, and those of the inhabited area of the South are in fair condition. But his conclusions seem entirely based on the data of the trophic state of lakes, which we know from the VLMP protocols. The Professor points out that our lakes are in much better condition than those of Europe; but this does not reassure us so far. Radio-Canada (French)

Other researchers rather make the observation that the portrait of the health of the Lakes, Canada-wide, is far from clear. A gap results among other things from this observation, "there has been limited coordinated Canada-wide action to monitor lakes"; a problem for all actors in the field.  A scientific major project, entrusted to the Natural Sciences and engineering research Council (NSERC) Canadian Lake Pulse Network on the state of Canadian lakes and comprising 18 researchers from 15 universities in Canada, was born in 2016. Under the scientific direction of Professor Yannick Huot, Oceanographer and Professor in the Department of applied geomatics of the University of Sherbrooke, this project has an investment of 5.5 M$ over a period of 5 years from the NSERC. "The idea of this project is to go sampling 680 Lakes throughout Canada to obtain a representative picture of the situation, says Yannick Huot."
"In addition to a pan-Canadian and regional health of the Lakes assessment, the network will identify the most important factors affecting these bodies of water. ... The researchers will create a vast database of characteristics of the Lakes. They will also forecast future changes that might occur to improve stewardship of the Canadian Lakes." Geomatics will have a prominent place in the project. Using GPS, remote sensing and other modern techniques, this science associates location with various data on the ground. It would be even more or less possible to judge and compare the state of watercourses of huge territories by the variation of their colors identified by remote sensing. NSERC’s project promises to deliver data obtained by remote sensing in the obtained database for 2021, "thereby extending coverage to tens of thousands of Lakes". Université de Sherbrooke (French)

The Association for the protection of Lac-des-Îles, the largest lake in the watershed of the Lièvre River, welcomes that this Lake has been chosen among the 680 Lakes of the study, through their affiliation with the VLMP. Lac-des-Îles (French)

Furthermore, a report broadcast on the Humanima TV program, reported the findings made by a Parks Canada researcher and naturalist from La Mauricie National Park. Gardien de la nature (French)
We are reminded, as we know for Lake Saint-François-Xavier, that the logging from which has suffered the Mauricie region, like that of the Laurentians and all others in the accessible Quebec, has greatly affected the lakes and rivers, of all sizes, which mark out them. Not only the timber drive, but exploitation on the forest land, created sediment at the bottom of the lakes that still affects them today. There is also no plan to return to the original state of these watercourses; the current attention is simply to stabilize their balance.
And what do we know about the impact of this historic operation on the forest itself and on its wildlife? The naturalist, basing his conclusions on measures collected over several years, notes that some animal species are doing wrong. He suspects that this observation is related to relative deterioration of the environment. And yet, La Mauricie National Park is a territory almost exclusively constituted by the forest. On several lakes, the reproduction of the Loon is compromised, while no one exactly knowing why. Is this due to the mercury that falls from the sky and contaminates an environment on which the Loon is very susceptible? Some species of turtles are no luckier and are becoming rarer.

It is quite obvious that we lack data on the environment, problem that we should look upon. There is no diagnosis and even less solution without the collection of variables and data on the environment that surrounds us. If the research seems already shy in a national park, what happens under municipal jurisdiction? What is done on the territory of Wentworth-Nord for the essential knowledge of this environment?
But it comes to mind that there is a regional park of the Aerobic Corridor that runs through precisely the sector of Montfort. Is there not here a way forward for the establishment of an area of research in this environment? The Corridor passes through a village, a virgin forest, a few agricultural spaces; it borders lakes. One can imagine that it is in an intermediate state between the forest and the urbanized territory, with an environment assessment of what happens in nature during the transition from one state to another.
Shouldn’t our lake associations, our municipality and the MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut knock on the door of governments to ask for this park to be included in the future in programs such as the one from the NSERC?

With the use of Microsoft Translator

Carl Chapdelaine

Fallen leaves and siltation

Many will have noticed, following violent rains caused by tropical storm Philippe, that the runoff has carted large masses of dead leaves to the different steps that can be found on the slopes of our hills. As each fall, but perhaps more so this year because of this event, the owners could be required to get rid of accumulations of leaves lying around their homes.
Along the Lake, a good part of these leaves fall in the water where they unfortunately contribute to the supply of nutrients, including phosphorus, to siltation and thus to the eutrophication of the water course. It is certainly a natural process, albeit made worse by deforestation caused by the development of the habitat, such as the construction of roads. This phenomenon does not match the wishes of the friends of the lakes to keep them in a pure state, for as long as possible, although nature plays against them on the long term.
Some authorities remind citizens that the idea to get rid of piles of dead leaves bordering a water course by throwing them in the water is very unwelcome. Ideally, on the contrary, these leaves can decompose on the ground and eventually turn into humus. A good practice would be to pick them up, or even to shred them to speed up the process, then to put them back on the ground and thus have the most of these cumbersome accumulations.

Renaissance Brome Lake

With the use of Microsoft Translator


The carrying capacity of a Lake

The significance of this capacity is well introduced in the " Lacs et cours d’eau " study for Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lake-Masson: Lacs et cours d'eau (in French). (By the way, beyond scientific approaches to the study of the lakes to which we are introduced today, with its terms of eutrophication, total phosphorus or other, the description of the evaluation of the state of health of a Lake can be described very simply, as this study shows.) In Ontario, an Assimilative Capacity Study has been done for the Lake Simco watershed: Assimilative capacity study.

The definition of the carrying capacity of a lake is also summarized as follows in the MDDEP 2007 draft guide: "the carrying capacity is the maximum pressure that humans may exercise by their activities (residential development, agriculture, forestry, etc.) on the environment of the lake without harming its integrity, in order to ensure its sustainability. It depends on including the physical characteristics of the Lake (size, volume, etc.) and of its watershed (size, intake water, land use, etc.)». Guide-synthèse (in French).

In fact, each of the sub-variables listed in this definition can be broken down into a number of components. However, phosphorus intake seems to be the most frequently mentioned item in the assessment of the carrying capacity of a lake. You can see that the respect of this capacity requires more than regulation to establish the minimum size of the dwelling lots in the lake watershed. We can imagine even the importance of the scientific steps to be undertaken to determine that value. Can we be surprised to hear the attentive border lake owner mention that you cannot, obviously, group a hundred homes on the edge of a small lake, contradicting the development plan proposed for such a lake based on the only criteria for urban planning which are, do we understand, currently selected? Smaller is a lake, greater are the risks of saturation of its carrying capacity. «The ratio area/size (or volume) of a lake is an element to be considered in the study of the health state of a lake.» So, should not this ratio be already included in the calculation establishing the regulation of development close to the lakes shorelines? Therefore, even before determining the characteristics of the habitat that is projected in the watershed of a lake, it is those of that lake which should be established.

Failing to have in hand the results of a specific analysis on the carrying capacity of a specific lake, we should be able to find a model to follow, based on statistics on the variables studied for other lakes in a region. Thus, it would have been determined that a lake of such dimensions, with such rates of renewal of its water, etc., in such type of watershed and with such real habitat type, could theoretically have a carrying capacity for any specific development.

Some municipalities and some organizations for the protection of lakes tackled this difficult task of assessing their vital signs, which could allow them to assess their carrying capacity. They are assisted in so doing by the Conseil régional de l’environnement (CRE) and the Volunteer Lake-Monitoring Program protocols, from the MDDELCC. In a region where the lakes have largely determined the evolution of the habitat, how to miss such a need?

Carl Chapdelaine

2016 VLMP/RSVL results

First analyses of the quality of the water in Lake Saint-François-Xavier following the Voluntary Lake-Monitoring Program (VLMP/RSVL) protocol took place in 2008, an initiative of Municipality’s Environment Services then under the responsibility of Ms. Julie Brown. They were mandated by the Ministry of the environment of Quebec and conducted under the auspices of Dr. Richard Carignan, from the University of Montreal. Statements on transparency have not stopped since that date; but it is in 2013 that was added, on an annual basis, sampling for physicochemical analysis (total phosphorus (µg/l), chlorophyll a (µg/l) and organic carbon (mg/l) at the deepest point of the Lake (in the Montfort basin).

Annual measures of the transparency of the water restarted in 2008 at the Lake, using the Secchi disc, restored by Mr. André Soucy and professionally handled since by the Hausermann, showed clear water. The Lake ranked as an oligo-trophic one in regard to this variable on the trophic level (aging of the Lake) ranking scale used by the VLMP. The trend however leaves us fear a reduction in transparency from 2013.

The triple physicochemical analysis of 2008 and since 2013 suggests, year after year, that these three components of the quality of the water of the Lake lie even more favorably on the scale, but to varying degrees. Results for 2016 * would even show exceptional ratings for total phosphorus, indicating that the water is very little enriched by this nutrient (but a more negative value of sampling on August 28 was excluded (for some reasons non-indicated.): "This variable locates the trophic state of the Lake in the ultra-oligotrophic class." "According to the results (for the three variables, added to the transparency of the water) obtained for 2016, Lake Saint-François-Xavier has little or no signs of eutrophication."

Beyond this reassuring image drawn by the application of this VLMP Protocol, we must put in light of other data on the "aging" of the Lake and on the quality of its water. Thus, the historical analysis, undertaken by Mr. David Clark, on various data and analyses of the quality of the water accumulated by the Lake Association for decades seem to the contrary to indicate a deterioration of the health of the Lake from its original state, with dark episodes and despite also occasional recovering over the years.** A comprehensive and thorough study, conducted by the Inter-Lacs group in 1998, also noted a worrying situation.

These analyses and data were the responsibility of private companies mandated by the Association, and they are often in line of what is currently provided by the firm Géostar. The sites selected in the two basins may, for some, not always have been in the same place, but they covered the whole of the two basins forming what we give today as a single Lake.
Two lakes, as for conjoined twins Lakes Notre-Dame and St-Victor, or just one? For Dr. Carignan, yet involved in the implementation of the Protocol of the VLMP on our Lake, it would be well be two lakes. So why an analysis in the Montfort basin for the VLMP Protocol (at the deepest point of the Lake) and none in the Newaygo one?

In front of seemingly contradictory results, our resources are not in a position to unravel the real situation; the search for expertise is needed. The historical analysis conducted by Mr. Clark must be submitted to a competent authority that can authenticate the approach and the results. Similarly, we must be able to provide a sounder foundation on the application of the VLMP protocols to Lake St-François-Xavier to better understand their significance and to ask for the necessary adjustments if needed.

*2016 results2015 resultsAll years.

**Lake water quality data

Carl Chapdelaine

«Love your lake»

The 'Love Your Lake' program currently covers Ontario and some other provinces in Canada. It focuses on the protection of the shoreline. Developed by Watersheds Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF), it appeals especially to local Lake Associations around the country for its implementation. The program stems from past experiences and is based on the scientific knowledge accumulated in this field. In Ontario, it involves support from major partners, including the federal Government.

«Lakes participating in the Love Your Lake program will be assessed on a property-by-property basis using a standardized assessment protocol and datasheet. After every shoreline property on a lake is assessed from a boat, each shoreline landowner will receive access to an individualized property report consisting of information on the state of their shoreline and suggested voluntary actions for shoreline improvement.» These actions include, for example, revegetation, adequate access to water, lowering the environmental impact of the dock, etc.; simple steps that we have for the most part already been taught, but that all may not have heard of or yet applied.

The program provides training and support for its application and field work, promotion strategies, equipment and even some financial assistance for its implementation that should be orchestrated by the Lake Organization. It also gives access to a database as well as to a lake-wide report template and production support.

The approach of this program sounds like the much larger coaching and Lake Health Master Plan program of the Conseil régional de l’environnement des Laurentides. It seems however to rather involve volunteer engagement and management from the Lake association and residents who have themselves, according to the current description, to perform all tasks included in the protocol. Instead, the processing of data and the development of the Lake Health Master Plan by CRE-Laurentides lie with the latter. The Quebec’s Volunteer Lake-Monitoring Program (VLMP) offers a much more developed approach with its 'Characterization of the shoreline Protocol' and which can be implemented with the help of CRE under the above program or otherwise. The latter seems to us also required at Lake St-François-Xavier.

If getting involved in the development of a Lake Health Master Plan with CRE already seems difficult enough, to proceed with a Love Your Lake must also need a good dose of coordination, skill and determination in the involved community. Also, could a Quebec organization, as in Ontario, Alberta or Saskatchewan, approach the program, without in so doing undermining efforts already devoted to related tasks in Quebec? Among the testimonials of residents who participated in the program, we liked the suggestion that the analytical work, recommendations and actions performed on a single waterfront property could serve as an example, as did the renaturalisation of the shoreline next to the Montfort Pavilion. Would not here be a first step in the looked for involvement of all residents for their piece of shoreline protection? 

Love Your Lake website also offers a series of links related to various aspects of the protection of the shoreline: erosion, invasive species, etc. 

Carl Chapdelaine

Love Your Lake   Action Checklist     Testimonials

Lake water quality data

A work of historical analysis of 46 years of scientific surveys of the water quality of Lake St-François-Xavier finally set in presentation. David Clark had already worked on it and he had not given up. Today, he is able to present the historical data on the percentage of fecal coliforms in the Lake, the evolution of the concentration of total phosphorus and chlorophyll a; changes in the pH and in the transparency of the water. A wealth of information and convincing lessons showed in tables, graphs and explanations that he gives us in a Power Point Presentation. It also took him to master Excel and sometimes to consult specialists for interpretation; some data are still missing.

But this work still needs to be reviewed with experts to confirm its scientific basis, develop priorities and define action plans. However in its current state it should form the basis to begin working as a community to support and protect the Lake.

The results are already amazing; but after the ups and downs, the first conclusions for the future are somewhat alarming. Most of the variables seem to react in parallel and, at first glance, based on events that may have affected the quality of the water of the Lake, as the spill of the Thurston Lake, making curves of the different variables leap negatively on the charts.

There is also the stage of the consultations that Dave has started. It's by small groups of interested parties at the moment, including the undersigned strongly impressed; this facilitates the presentation, discussion and suggestions. But you'll be in your own group at your request, as you get in touch with Dave.

This analysis, which had to be made, must not stay on the shelves. The Lake talks about its health and certainly needs the attention of everyone; because few will doubt that it is based on our action past and current that Lake Saint-François-Xavier, like all others, has suffered and is still affected.

Too bad that the project of a Health Master Plan of the Lake with CRE and its offer of support have been rejected by the Lake St-François-Xavier’s Association and the Environmental Fund of the same Lake. Hope they will amend their position in the future and that a group well wish to revive the project. The finding of this historical analysis calls indeed for a mobilization of all those who love this Lake, effort that the CRE boasted to be able to get from all as it did elsewhere in our vast region of the Laurentides, a contract in itself.

But pending a favorable alignment of the stars, you need to read this report, make your own assessment and give your recommendations. Residents of Lake St-François-Xavier must now show that they are not indifferent and that they will encourage those who are already working to protect the Lake; take the example of the Laurel Lake residents and others and see how you can get involved.         

Carl Chapdelaine

The Q-2, r. 22 reform

According to a news release of April 7, 2017*, the reform of the regulation on the evacuation and treatment of wastewater from isolated residences (Q-2, r 22) announced last spring by the Minister of sustainable development, the environment and the fight against climate change (MDDELCC), Mr. David Heurtel, ended its first phase**. The last elements of the amended regulations will come into force from April 26, 2017. These latest changes affect existing isolated homeowners who are forced to install a tertiary treatment with déphosphatation system.

Among the first measures proposed by the reform in 2016, those concerning the use of dry compost toilets in certain situations have been seen by some observers as not providing a real solution to the problems encountered. Management of gray wastewater always did call for a retention ditch, which creates problem.

"A second phase of the reform is underway and will allow, starting this year, to offer additional solutions." "The amendments to the regulations allow to quickly offering affordable, sustainable and respectful of the environment solutions to owners of existing remote residences for the evacuation and treatment of wastewater. Our Government continues the study of other approaches that may be included in the regulation in the medium term." (Translation by C.C.)

Tax credit
The "construction, renovation, modification or rebuilding of a system for the discharge, collection and disposal of waste water, toilet effluents or grey water (are object of) the new refundable tax credit for the upgrading of residential waste water treatment systems (which is applicable) to such work as of April 1, 2017".  This credit is different from that granted by the RénoVert program. The qualifying home for this credit is:
-       either the principal place of residence of the individual;  
-       either a cottage habitable year-round. 
          Revenu Québec

*Communiqué du MDDELCC      

**Réforme: 1re phase 

Note: In the MDDELCC’s news release, it seems to us being confusion about the four proposed solutions and their relationship with the constraint for some owners to install a tertiary treatment with dephosphatation system. 
The undersigned gives the reader full responsibility for the interpretation of the content of the news release. The regulation to be applied and the relevant information or necessary permits to obtain certainly fall within the jurisdiction of the Municipality.

          Carl Chapdelaine

The sedimentation issue at LSFX

To our knowledge, there has not been any study on sedimentation and silting at Lake St. Francois-Xavier. Such studies and analyses methods (with sediments samplers, solid flow assessment, etc.) have yet been carried out on other lakes of Quebec, particularly at Lake St. Charles, by l’Organisme des bassins versants de la Capitale*. Some similarities between the story of this great reservoir of drinking water for the city of Quebec and Lake Saint-François-Xavier could yet lead us to be more concerned by this phenomenon. 
The study first emits very simply the elements of the equation: sedimentation, siltation, filling in. The first factor: water erosion; run-off caused by rain or melting snow pulls out sediments and transports them to the rills and ditches. The latter and streams push them further towards the Lake. All this action is more or less important depending on the violence of precipitation, the nature of soil, slope, and then the flow of these streams. In the Lake, the biggest sediment will drop more quickly, often at the outlet of the tributaries as was probably the case when the dumping of Lake Thurston happened; then the lighter will be able to travel much longer distances, while causing an increase in turbidity. The phenomenon is also modulated depending on the strength of current and the bottom of the Lake relief. The result is self-evident: sedimentation and siltation. The Lake is somehow as a large sedimentation pool.  At Lake Saint-François-Xavier, Newaygo and Montfort basins have specific characteristics and must be differently affected by the phenomenon.
You know already that human action, as the development and use of habitat, the land use, deforestation, the denudation of the shores, road construction, etc., accentuates the phenomenon of natural erosion, and you can see that, as a result, sedimentation and silting in the Lake follows; its bathymetry will itself be modified. Analysis of the evolution of the bathymetry of a lake is also part of measurement tools of the sedimentation process which might affect it.
Erosion and sedimentation in the Lake "contribute to the proliferation of algae and aquatic plants by providing increased nutrients (rock, 2010)".  Maybe it's the main visual clue of what's happening under the surface of the water and that we do not suspect. "In addition, sediments may affect the quality of the fish habitat by filling the spawning grounds, by reducing food sources, and by reducing the amount of dissolved oxygen (Hotte et Quirion, 2003)".
The study conducted at Lake Saint-Charles, in 2007, enabled to trace the evolution of sedimentation in the Lake since the beginning of the 20th century. It was concluded that the rate of sedimentation had been multiplied by about 12 in a century, with important bonds associated with specific periods. A dam erected in 1934 and intended to turn it into a water reservoir has allowed raising the level of the Lake; it is now superior of two meters to that of the time. "This impoundment has processed off the physical and biological balance by changing the morphometry of the Lake, causing a massive influx of sediments and by periodically creating a deficit in oxygen in half of the water column. (Lee, 1998; Tremblay et al. 2001; (Brodeur et al., 2009, et APEL, 2009). "  The latest surge in the rise of the rate of sedimentation in this lake is attributed to the increase of urbanization in its watershed. As mentioned above, the sedimentation contributes to a proliferation of algae and aquatic plants. "A peak of sedimentation was observed in 2007 (at Lake Saint-Charles), a year after the appearance of the first blooms of cyanobacteria (APEL, 2009)."    

At Lake Saint-François-Xavier, it seems to us that the current factors of sedimentation are of public domain, mainly in relation to the configuration and maintenance of the road network. The potential impact of the presence and the management of the dam over the past century are unknown. In fall 2014, installation by the Ministry of Transport of a sedimentation basin at the foot of the steep hill of Rue Principale and drains at the surface to nourish it was addressing the most obvious cause at the time. But what about the results?  The dredging of the channel that followed does not seem to have set the expected goal.
The MRCs have the responsibility of management and maintenance of waterways of their territory; duty that they normally carry through their constituent municipalities. They are therefore directly concerned by the erosion control and stormwater management. In the face of its somehow specific problems, the MRC Papineau, in partnership with local municipalities and two watersheds agencies of the region, started its "Rivages en héritage» project "**. During the summers of 2012 and 2013, student interns walked the lakes’ shores of the MRC to assess their condition and meet with border lake property owners to explain the importance of protecting the shore, the means to do so and existing regulations to this effect. In the case of Lake St-François-Xavier and in accordance with our initial hypothesis, an approach with public authorities should be privileged, the regeneration of the shore of private property seeming to us required here in only a minority of cases.  

Following the first publication of our article, it has been criticized for making no mention of other factors of erosion affecting the lakes, such as motorized navigation. However, our intention was not to present a treatise on the topic; it would be beyond our knowledge. 
The question of the impact of motorized navigation does not seem to have been often addressed in the past. However, it is clear, especially with the arrival in some lakes of types of boats generating oversized waves, like the wakeboats and the surfboats, that it can cause serious erosion. A study commissioned by the Municipality of l’Estérel for Lake Masson and sponsered by the MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut as well, has demonstrated that "the shore located at 150 m or less from a corridor of wake surfing ... will show a line of erosion higher than the shore of test sites." That Municipality as well as that of Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson have since adopted appropriate legislation in accordance with their jurisdiction. However, the impact is not proportional to the speed of the boats; the so-called intermediate speeds may cause the biggest waves. These waves are generally larger than those naturally generated by the winds.
A study undertaken in 2016, at Laval University, is now looking at the "impacts of different types of motorised boats, in different marine environments".  "This navigation works in a variable way on these ecosystems according to the depth of the water body, distance from shore, the type of boat, speed, etc...**** This observation has become a major concern for the Regroupement des 40 organismes de bassins versants du Québec (ROBVQ) *****. 
We can see that the evaluation of the issue at Lake Saint-François-Xavier deserves the implementation of measurement tools and appropriate analysis or, failing that, of the follow-up of the recommendations submitted for similar lakes.


*Case of Lake Saint-Charles 

**MRC Papineau

***Study on Lake Masson
**** All types of navigation
***** ROBVQ

Carl Chapdelaine

Lake health record

Many residents of Montfort-Newaygo and, among them, those whose property borders Lake St-François-Xavier, are more and more interested in the state of health of this gem. If they didn't already know, they discovered that a lake is more than a simple depression filled of fresh water and fed by any stream or river. The appearance of blue-green algae episode and now the threat of the introduction of Eurasian watermilfoil were able to raise awareness of those who hadn’t spent their life at the Lake, as the undersigned.
In fact, a lake can be compared to a living being; it must be born, it lives and... dies (by being filled-up)! And who else could imagine a "Lake health record", one whose picture should now be enthroned in the majority of the residents’ living room, as that of Mao into the most humble Chinese cottages in some not so old past...? Indeed, the idea is attributed to Dr. Richard Carignan, from Montreal University.
This health record is no longer just a concept; it is truly a small manual connected to this science which deals with the state of the lakes, limnology. And the professionals from the Réseau de surveillance volontaire des lacs, RSVL (VLMP), are perhaps doctors able to diagnose the condition of a lake and indicate what seem to be the appropriate remedies for maintaining or restoring its health.
Protection measures of this lacustrine environment that most residents now apply are as much of a step in the right direction. Yet, qualified officials remind us that to look at the preservation of the health of a lake asks foremost the development of a comprehensive plan. We must indeed take a radiography of the lake, that is, map it, know its morphology, cut it into areas of analysis, etc., in order to apply the various study 'protocols' developed by the public authorities (the MDDELCC), and which shed light on the different indicators of the state of health of a lake.
This preliminary work seems not yet to have been completed for Lake St-François-Xavier. The steps taken in the course of half a century of attention by the Lake association were not always in a line of continuity which would allow today to compare all the results of the analyses carried out during this period. The Health record could remedy this serious gap for the future. One of the prerequisites is indeed to establish a more rigorous approach in the determination of indicators, areas of analysis, etc., which may enable accurate monitoring of the evolution of the Lake’s health.
Characterization of aquatic plants, the application of the protocol of the periphyton and some other approaches require the partition of the littoral zone in areas of analysis.  There is even advantage if not a need to apply a protocol to first determine the nature of the substrate, i.e. the nature of the bottom of the lake in this area. Bedrock will not support the development of aquatic plants as can a silty substrate. At the beginning of the application of the Protocol of the periphyton at Lake Saint-François-Xavier, John Wilson and Felix Hausermann had carefully made the grand tour of the Lake and identified twelve areas of analysis which cover its entire shoreline. In addition, these areas are fairly well sectors with certain characteristics: areas with wooded shore, rather inhabited or bounded by the Aerobic Corridor, the marina and the boat launch, etc. It is hoped that these areas can be taken for the application of new protocols, such as the characterization of aquatic plants, allowing connecting the variables analyzed with the results obtained with the study of periphyton. 
We see that working on all these characterization protocols will ask a great collective effort. But how to monopolize an army of volunteers who are willing to devote time to such sampling of the littoral? We might maybe imagine some sort of game or contest that could "crank up" the level of interest in such operations and attract more residents prepared to devote them to such task. Could we, for example, pair the assessment of the substrate or the characterization of aquatic plants with a treasure hunt, by dispersing on the bottom of the shoreline surprises boxes with more or less interesting prizes and a jackpot that could be worth to the winner like a grand tour of the Lake in a pontoon boat or a flight in a seaplane over it...
Fortunately we wouldn't be the first to have undertaken to establish the health record of a lake; and therefore, thanks to the gigantic work of the Conseil régional de l’environnement des Laurentides (CRE-Laurentides), combined with governmental and other resources such as the academic research groups in Limnology, there exists the Bleu Laurentides’ La trousse des lacs. It is composed of theoretical cards that explain you the basic concepts related to lakes health and everything that could be mentioned above. You want to know what seaweed is and what affects its growth; what does PH mean? You have it there! It describes different VLMP’s protocols that are used in the analysis, such as the sampling of quality of the water. It finally delivers your Lake health record; but transcribing in it all the data that you have found or obtained in another way is left to be done...   
                                                                                                                                             Carl Chapdelaine

The characterization of aquatic plants 

Wrkshop of the CRE Laurentides* on the characterization of the aquatic plants.

Presentations by Ms. Mélissa Laniel and Ms. Melissa Valiquette, July 8, 2016, at the Community Center of Gore, with the support of the MRC of Argenteuil. 
1.    Presentation of the Protocol of detection and follow-up of aquatic exotic invasive plants (AEIP).

The VLMP (RSVL) (MDDELCC) is currently working out such a protocol. This tool would respond to an urgent need to protect or to fight against the invasion of our lakes by the Eurasian water-milfoil.
As in the follow-up of the periphyton, Mrs. Laniel explains, using a Power Point Presentation, how this tool proposes inventory planning of potential invasive exotic plants in a lake. 
There are several types of aquatic plants and algae; however they may essentially proliferate close to the shoreline or in shallow areas. The way to cover these surfaces, first on a bathymetric map, then in the lake, has a geometric logic. All chosen areas of the lake, or some targeted in the analysis, are identified and localized with the GPS.
The privileged watercraft used could be, for example, a row boat with an electric motor; it must be able to move slowly with the team of two or three on board. Equipment and method to identify, to locate with the GPS, to pick and ship plants to be analyzed is described in detail. 
The presenter answers questions after questions from the audience and recalls that the Protocol is not yet completely checked. Volunteers around Gore’s Lakes, enrolled for its application as soon as this summer 2016, will participate in one of its first use in the field, with the help of CRE.
It seemed to us, even if the interventions of the audience have never let it sound, that the application of this Protocol, owing to the difficulty of identifying a potentially very high number of plants in the Lake and to respect the different facets of the Protocol, must ask for a great effort to probably volunteer teams. So is seized the value of the CRE’s assistance and expertise with the stakeholders.
Other elements of the presentation may be missing here, and as the paper documentation on the application of the Protocol is not yet available, one will have to rely on what will be accessible through the Internet. It is by this means, as was the case for the Periphyton, that reports from users of the Protocol will be sent to the RSVL for future processing.
Mapping of the plants identified and localized with the GPS on the different lakes of Quebec will be developed as the compilation of these reports pile-up. It will be available and probably integrated to the Atlas of the Lakes of the Laurentians.

2.    Presentation of the Sentinel tool for the detection of the EIS
This tool for the detection of exotic invasive species, animals and plants, aquatic or terrestrial, has been developed some years ago at the MDDELCC, while this was an appropriate occasion to present it again. 
As for the previously mentioned protocol, it gives a visual description of the three types of existing plants: floating, submerged or immersed. Mrs. Laniel had already recalled the sound interest of this classification in the identification exercise.
The report that the user of the tool will make to the Department, following the identification of plants, is of the same model as the one used in the Protocol on the EIS. We can imagine a potential combination of the two. 
Here is a link that allows you to take this tool "in hands": Sentinelle
3.    Identification of common aquatic plants, etc.
The presentation finally included a specific part for the identification of common plants, using cards among others.
There was also the description of the fabrication of a double head rake for pulling plants to be analyzed from the lake bottom and for an aquascope to better see under the water from the edge of a boat. These descriptions are available at the following links of the VLMP: Double head rake ; Fabrication of an aquascope
*Conseil régional de l’environnement des Laurentides, Bleu Laurentides’ program for the protection of lakes health.

Note: Indigenous milfoil is present in Lake Saint-François-Xavier, especially at the head of the Lake (southwest), which is the spillway of Lake à la Croix, at the very beginning of the watershed. This basin, shallow and created by the construction of the dam at the exit of the village on the other side of the Lake (northeast), is so naturally and almost entirely filled with aquatic plants.  
CRE-Laurentides has just published a small brochure with which you can better understand all and titled: 'Aquatic exotic invasive plants – Eurasian water-milfoil, a small guide to avoid an invasion». You will find there the procedure for inspection of crafts and other accessories essential for the prevention of flooding of AEIP in the Lake. A must to have!                             CRE's guide                                                                            

             Carl Chapdelaine

Periphyton: Report 2015 

Periphyton in Lake Saint-François-Xavier: Surveys of 16-17 August 2015 (report)*
The measurement of the thickness of the film/carpet of periphyton on submerged rocks of the shore is the task of the plunger of the team; Dave Clark has fulfilled this crucial responsibility.
His statements on the 11 sites selected since 2013 indicate that the average thickness of this film/carpet, on the 10 rocks of each site, varies between 2 and 4 mm from one site to the other.
Figures for the 3 years show a general thickening of less than 1% between 2013 and 2014; but more than 1% between 2014 and 2015.
While Felix and Adrian Hausermann had seen the color of this film of brown dominance in the previous years, Dave has described it as being brownish green and sometimes light green at the side of a rock.
For now, we see that this layer of microorganisms and other material is present on all the rocks of the Lake and that it covers them fully. The layer is less thick at 30 cm below the surface of the water than lower. Dave has also noticed that the layer of periphyton was generally thicker on Southeast side (approximate direction).
The thicker layers were found at site 10, flanked by the section of the Aerobic Corridor closed to general traffic (but we do not have the explanation).
As in previous years, the presence of periphyton in the form of filaments was noted on a few rare rocks.
It is not our responsibility to draw conclusions from these observations.
The continual increase in the layer of periphyton through three years though seems very real. We have however no idea of the meaning of the order of magnitude of this growth. Would the fact that the operation of 2015 took place two weeks later than the previous ones explain the greater thickness of the periphyton this year?
It is said that the presence and thickness of the periphyton in a lake may vary over the years; this would therefore require a mechanism for vanishing and regeneration, as for aquatic plants. According to Ms. Mélissa Laniel, from CRE-Laurentides, we would be able to see the evolution of the presence of periphyton at the Lake by comparing the data taken in 2013 to 2014 and 2015 on sites of sampling, and then at a resumed sequence in five years for example.
Summary recommendations:
The work of the diver is long, exhausting and chilling. He needs to have a certain ease in water and preferably equipment: snorkeling, diving sweater and, preferably, a weighted belt. Training followed by the members of the team, in 2013, should have proved to be useful.
Calm water and not too cold, with plenty of brightness, are preferred. Two divers could accomplish the job in two times less time and therefore be able to complete it easily in a single day at Lake Saint-François-Xavier.
The motor boat was preferred to the pontoon boat because of its manoeuvrability; but to throw oneself into the water and get back into the boat is difficult and perilous. 
      By Carl Chapdelaine, August 20, 2015
* A comparison of data on the three years is visible on the map "Periphyton, vulnerability, water" under the heading «Lake Health" in Files, on our website. Map: periphyton, vulnerability, water  

Operation periphyton 2015

You may have an opportunity to see, on August 16 and 17, Dave Clark fussing around a dozen sites with submerged rocks in the lake, diving and shouting codes to Felix Hausermann and the undersigned. Don’t be chocked; we do not intend to withdraw any of these rocks off the lake ... It is simply to measure the thickness and to describe the coverage of detritus and microorganisms forming this greenish layer which sticks to objects immersed in a lake. This is what is referred to by periphyton.
These charming colonies greatly appreciate that we pay them attention, especially by presenting them phosphorus and other treats they crave for. They seek also to show us, during this operation, if they appreciate the reasonable accommodation to which they are subject, in answering their desire to ensure the best future for their descendants.
The team must visit the dozen sites chosen by John Wilson and Felix across the lake in August 2013, certainly bringing together the most beautiful rocks.
The operation is so taking place for the third year; after which it could be suspended for some time. It is hoping that RSVL authorities have meanwhile found what conclusions must be drawn from this Protocol of monitoring the periphyton.
If you are interested in possibly take over the team, you may wish to ask to register for the training day of RSVL at Lake Croche, which takes place in summer. Have preferably endurance and ease in water if you want to participate as a diver; the task can prove be daunting.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Carl Chapdelaine

Road salts and the Lake

"The natural presence of chloride varies from 7 milligrams per liter of water (mg/l) in undisturbed lakes of the Canadian Shield to 20 000 mg/l in the sea." «An urban stream in winter contains more than 1 000 mg/l; runoff water from a highway, over 18 000 mg/l*.» The concentration of chloride was stabilized at 45 mg/l at the small Lac à la Truite, on the edge of the highway 15, following the replacement of salt, on 7 km, with an abrasive/salt mixture.
In 1995, under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, began a comprehensive scientific study to assess the impact of the use of salt on the environment. «The assessment report, published on December 1, 2001 concluded that high releases of road salts were having an adverse effect on freshwater ecosystems, soil, vegetation and wildlife. The publication of this report initiated the risk management process to address the risks posed to the environment by road salts.»
In 2013, the Ministry of transport of Quebec published a " Guide de gestion des zones vulnérables aux sels de voirie - Une démarche à l’intention des municipalités (Guide of management of areas vulnerable to road salts - An approach addressed to the municipalities"). One can read that "the introduction of a large amount of salt in the water can result in a complete change of the aquatic ecosystem and in a biodiversity loss. In addition, high concentrations of sodium chloride can alter the density of the water, induce the development of a haline stratification, have an impact on the vertical mixing of the water and harm the redistribution of oxygen and nutrients, two elements essential to the survival of the species living both in depth and in surface."
Quebec has taken the approach of Ottawa and, with municipal and transport organizations, proposes strategies to tackle the problem. One of these strategies is to invite municipalities and any concerned administration to develop "a plan of environmental management of road salts (plan de gestion environnementale des sels de voirie: PGESV) which is based on the best practices in this field and which takes into account the environmental impacts of road salts-related activities".
One can likened this approach to the use of the VLMP’s protocols by associations for the protection of lakes. Municipalities who enrol must follow a process and report to the Department which can thus draw conclusions and suggest improvements. However, to do this, municipalities must rely on the assistance and expertise of the MRC and Government agencies.
Unfortunately, our surveys of the quality of the water of Lake St. François-Xavier don’t give us information on its chloride concentration. Furthermore, we did not choose any sampling site precisely on the targeted area, downstream from the bridge of Montfort, where the impact of salt used on the big hill of the rue Principale most likely settles. At first glance, it seems that the measure on a regular basis and at appropriate dates of this concentration upstream as downstream the channel is essential for the assessment of the situation.
Carl Chapdelaine
*~One tablespoon per litre
Sources: 1.
2.Plan ministériel de gestion environnementale des sels de voirie 2011-2014
3. Guide_gestion_zones_vulnerables-2Mai_HQ.pdf


2014 VLMP's results

Under the Volunteer Lake-Monitoring Program (VLMP)’s protocol and for a second year, in summer 2014, water samples collected by Colleen Horan and Felix Hausermann, in the deepest part of the Lake, were analyzed in the MDDELCC’s laboratories. According to the analysis results that have just been transmitted to the Association, from the three physicochemical variables, total phosphorus, chlorophyll a and organic carbon, only the first shows a significant negative change from 2013, from a concentration index of 3.4 μg/l to 5 μg/l. However, this concentration remains very low, and judging from the trophic classification scale (oligotrophic <-> mesotrophic <- > eutrophic), this variable as to the limit that of chlorophyll a, is classified as oligotrophic since 2008. The tiny yellow squares in the graph, position the Lake on the scale in question for 2014.
For their part, therefore, all physicochemical variables indicate the Lake shows few signs of eutrophication. The first operation of this type, with the VLMP, was thus in summer 2008. Following an amendment to the protocol in 2010, it is now necessary to conduct the sampling on two, or even three consecutive years. The VLMP’s recommendation to the Association, in this case, is to go for a third year, which "will increase the accuracy of mean values”. The LSFX would however have to find again close to $300; it is to be hoped that the Municipality would then renew this year its offer to pay 50 per cent of such expenses.
At the same time, annual measures of transparency of the water, assessed with the use of the Secchi disk by Felix, indicate again slightly turbid water for 2014, as for 2013. The Lake remains here in a less comfortable position, i.e. mesotrophic. The graph of Lake St. François-Xavier’s water transparency over several years shows a sequence of highs and lows since 2008, the first year of application of this protocol. Variations are of a meter and the visibility of the disk for these 7 years averages 4.2 meters deep. Although already noted in 2009, the situation has so deteriorated over the past two years.
Conclusion of the VLMP authorities: In view of the results obtained, it is possible that Lake St. François-Xavier shows some signs of eutrophication*. For us to see! Furthermore, as we pay for only a portion of what we receive from these analyses, it seems that there is benefit, to the extent possible, of taking advantage of it.

*When adding the measure of the transparency of the water to the concentration of phosphorus and chlorophyll a (an indicator of algae abundance) on the trophic classification scale, one gets the overall position of the Lake, which passes from oligotrophic to mesotrophic, or more precisely oligo-mesotrophic, on this scale. Thus, 40% of 537 resort lakes of southern Québec were oligo-mesotrophic in 2008; 30 per cent had a better ranking and 30% worse. This scale is a reference tool for estimating the degree of eutrophication of the lakes by the VLMP.

Note: The VLMP has not yet created hyperlinks to its interactive tables; we will add them as soon as available.

Carl Chapdelaine

2013 VLMP's results

Lake St. François-Xavier (307) - quality of water: 2008-2014 follow-up

The Lake’s portrait gets clearer

December 18, 2014

The web Atlas of the Laurentians’ Lakes (
Lake Atlas), from the Conseil régional de l'environnement des Laurentides (CRE), is a very recent tool and still in the making. Its carrying out took advantage of financial and human input from the Conférence Régionale des Élus (CRÉ), recently victim of the financial cuts imposed by the provincial government.

You also know of the RSVL’s reports on surveys done at Lake St. François-Xavier under various protocols, such as the degree of transparency and the quality of the water or, during the last two summer seasons, on its chemical composition. You've also seen the bathymetric charts made Dr. Richard Carignan’s team and the Université de Montréal at the Lake, and which tell us about its morphometry (depth, area, terrain, volume, etc.). The area of its watershed was also estimated.  You have to know that these data can be combined to determine other variables to describe and thus to characterize the state of health and equilibrium of the Lake. Thus, by combining transparency and bathymetry, hypsometric cards specific to Lake Saint-François-Xavier could be made which allow "… to visualize the proportions of the volume of the Lake or the sediment surface that can support the growth of aquatic vegetation..."

Dr. Carignan believes that the determination of the bathymetric variables and characteristics of the watershed is a prerequisite to the study of a lake. So his team could, with these data and, without doubt, using software, evaluate the rate of replacement of all its water, which is called 'the time of renewal' 1, and its 'drainage ratio' (area of the watershed / lake area). These two data have just been added to those of the bathymetric maps of the Lake, the one on the Western Basin (Newaygo) and the one on the Eastern basin (Montfort), since Dr. Carignan told us consider that it is for him, in fact, two lakes.  You will so now find that new information on the web Atlas of the Laurentians’ Lakes, by typing the name of the lake in its search tool; Saint-François-Xavier (ouest): ; and (est) :

Renewal time is thus of 0.83 year for the Newaygo basin and 0.37 for the Montfort basin. The drainage ratio of the first would be 11.29 against 29.42 for the Montfort’s one. Amongst the consequences of these differences, we can point out that phosphorus would thus tend to settle more at the bottom in the Newaygo basin than in the Montfort’s one and that its concentration in the water is therefore normally lower.2  You will notice by the way that even if it is in the East basin that is found the greatest depth, its volume of water represents only 80% of that of the Western Basin and its area equals it by only 64%.

We don’t know what order of magnitude can be the compliance of these assessments with the actual situation. Many variables, not to mention the habitat and forest cover, should be added to these physical characteristics to refute their accuracy. However, it is still adequate to remember that Lake Saint-François-Xavier’s Newaygo and Montfort basins are not identical twins.

1. This is 'the ratio between the volume of the Lake and the amount of water it receives annually from its catchment and rainfall reaching directly the Lake'... 'In a lake where the water residence time is very long, the concentration of phosphorus will be low because most of the phosphorus will have time to settle.’, p. 18.

2. "Also, lakes with a high drainage ratio and so a large basin watershed compared to the area of the Lake, will usually have a shorter renewal time and will be more colorful.'', p.19.
                                                                                                                                                                                Carl Chapdelaine


Report on the periphyton (2014)

Our 2014 report, containing the location of the eleven monitoring sites retained and the description of the periphyton at Lake St. François-Xavier, on Excel file, has been sent to the authorities of the VLMP (RSVL) in Quebec.  As no data processing tool would yet exist, our report will feed a data-bank and will thus contribute to development of more specific standards for the widespread use of this protocol in Quebec. Analysis of our data by experts of the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC) and the conclusions for Lake St. François-Xavier could therefore be defined only after some years of application of the protocol at the specified geographic scale.
It is said that the presence and thickness of the periphyton in a lake may vary over the years; this would therefore require a mechanism for vanishing and regeneration, as for aquatic plants. According to Ms. Mélissa Laniel, from CRE-Laurentides, we would be able to see the evolution of the presence of periphyton at the Lake by comparing the data taken in 2013 to 2014 and the next year on sites of sampling, and then at a resumed sequence in five years for example.
For now, we see that this layer of microorganisms and other material is present on all the rocks of the Lake and that it covers them fully, with a thickness of about 1 mm in 2013, rarely more, but that seems sometimes increased by a second millimeter in 2014. The only conclusion that we can conclude for now, would be that any increase in its thickness would indicate an accelerated eutrophication, mainly caused then by an increased phosphorus contribution; the latter being closely linked to the presence of periphyton. 
The color of this carpet of periphyton, uniformly greenish brown, perhaps could give us other indications. Similarly, the small thickness differences according to the selected sites are probably carrying information specific to these sites but which require interpretation. The almost absolute absence of periphyton in filamentous form must also have a meaning.
Thirteen pages of the report may be a little repetitive; however, if you want copy, we will forward it to you by e-mail.
                                                                                                                C.C.  September 2014

Increase in periphyton

September 24, 2014,                                           Carl Chapdelaine

See: Map of "Periphyton, vulnerability, water" at the top of the topic.

Phosphorus and aquatic plants 

On August 9, Ms. Melissa Laniel, from CRE-Laurentides and in charge of project Bleu Laurentides, was invited by the Agence des bassins versants de Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs (ABVLacs) for a presentation at Lake Ouimet. Entitled "aquatic plants and algae", she would be showing special emphasis on the Eurasian Watermilfoil, the exotic invasive aquatic plant actually seen as the most feared threat today for the Laurentian lakes.

Having always been concerned by the challenges that the access to the Lake poses, the delegation of the Executive of the Lake Saint-François-Xavier Association was going to learn multiple lessons from this presentation and intends to enrich the actual development of our policy in this regard.

But first, the speaker wished to explain the link between the contribution of phosphorus in a lake and the development of aquatic plants. In addition to telling us why these plants seem increasingly invading our lakes, her demonstration would help us understand the reasons and results of the implementation of the Voluntary Lake Monitoring Program (RSVL/VLMP) protocols.

Phosphorus is an element naturally little present in a wilderness lake. The first manifestation of its increased presence, due in particular to the human settlement on its shore and its watershed, will be on the coast, where the low depth enables to most aquatic plants to take root and take advantage of the light key to their development. It is precisely the proliferation of these plants, enough easily verifiable, that tells us that something is amiss. The particularity of invasive alien plants often allows them to take even more advantage of the presence of phosphorus. The cyanobacteria will also benefit.

At this time, samples of phosphorus that we collect in the pit of the lake, says the presenter, cannot yet reflect a recent intake of this substance. Data of this testing protocol will therefore not know to worry us. It is only when, somehow, aquatic plants of the coast will be saturated with phosphorus that it may be found in water samples so collected.

Survey of the thickness of the periphyton, which we recently conducted for the second year, will however be a quicker index of the potential increase of phosphorus in the Lake, since this layer of plant microorganisms and sediment also grows from a phosphorus intake.  4mm thick of periphyton on the rocks of the shore would be the critical limit; from our surveys, we are fortunately not yet there.

The shape and depth of a lake, its geomorphology in other words, and variables such as the speed of the renewal of its mass of water, make lakes uneven in face of increased phosphorus intake and the development of aquatic plants. A shallow lake, with a low rate of renewal of its mass of water, will promote the accumulation of phosphorus and the consequent proliferation of aquatic plants. This development will contribute to eutrophication of the lake, its premature aging. Through the work of the team of the University of Montréal, under the direction of Prof. Richard Carignan, and other researchers, these data and these rates have been established for several lakes in the Laurentian and are available on the new Atlas Web des lacs des Laurentides (2014), from CRE

Forty of our lakes would be already affected by Eurasian Watermilfoil, this invasive exotic plant from Eurasia. When it is introduced into a lake by any kind of boat, by a duck or other from infested lake, or by a stream which it is dependent, the plant will seek to settle into her new home. With a good contribution in phosphorus and of nautical practices that promote its dispersion, it may then invade sections of a lake or whole, causing a nightmare to all its residents and visitors. Nothing can easily be done to get rid of it, despite bees’ work of eradication and sometimes enormous expenditure which we know several examples.

Motor boats, as well as canoes, kayaks, etc., may be carrying a fragment of Eurasian Watermilfoil. Madam Laniel confirms that the threat is considered as real, even adding that Eurasian Watermilfoil may well rehydrate after having been dried. It takes several days in the sun to be able to guarantee the safety of certain types of craft coming from an infested lake, if this is the chosen method. 

Boat washing, away from the shore, and its thorough inspection, as well as that of all equipment, before launching in the water or when leaving an infested lake are among the essential measures for the prevention of the spread of invasive plants. But awareness, with panels and other means are perhaps a prerequisite for any prevention campaign.

A protocol of detection and monitoring of invasive exotic aquatic plants for resort lakes in Quebec, the PAEE, adapted from Maine VLMP, is being prepared and should have bene available in 2014, said the speaker.       

Carl Chapdelaine

Melissa Laniel's presentation

PAPA: Up date

The Big Hill sediment trap 

November 30th, 2013
Jean Pierre Corbeil is in a good position to see what goes down from the Big Hill on Rue Principale; but, since nearly two weeks, what he sees and harass with questions are employees of Transport Quebec surveying at the foot of this hill. He learned that the sand net, installed earlier, will be replaced by a trap or alike permanent structure intended to collect sand which unfailingly lands in a narrow channel of the Lake.
This channel passes under the Rue Principale’s bridge; due to accumulated sand, its depth now allows one to walk through with only fishermen boots. A former resident said that there were four to six feet of water at this location before the construction of this road climbing the coast in a straight line. But for what is to eventually dredge accumulated sand, mystery... These sediments are also probably spread downstream the channel. By decreasing the depth of the water thereby increasing the action of the sun, they certainly contributed to the invasion by aquatic plants.
One must also think that the gradual increase of the threshold has gradually produced a greater accumulation of sediments ending at the bottom of all the Lake upstream, exactly like the trap in sight could retain the sand of the Big Hill by imposing a threshold on the water collected. The impact had to be major and will continue as long as the bottom will not get back to its original level. In this account however, it is not only the channel which must be dredged, because all the surrounding bottom had to go up as well.
Land surveyors and other specialists have taken plenty of measures all around, walking in 30 cm of snow already covering the ground. Fortunately, it is not the new blackout that could have been of inconvenience to them. They surely have had to seek to determine the level of the high waters of the Lake, the morphology of the terrain, the degree of slope, the flow in the water collector, etc. Normally, a sand trap should not be built in a watercourse; but here the space is sorely lacking, unless considering using the entrance road to the houses bordering the Lake North of the bridge.
The case is on an emergency list at the Department and the data collected will be analyzed by engineers to determine more precisely the characteristics of the proposed permanent work. Transport Quebec has already experimental studies and criteria to make the appropriate choice. The preliminary plans of the work would also be already sketched. But these sand traps are generally not designed to filter the finest elements, as silts, and even less the melter or other chemical components that could be used for road de-icing and which would continue to pour out in the Lake. 
Budget issues have also probably been taken into account; for example, a barrier consisting of rocks, straw bales or alike certainly doesn’t induce the same expenditures as the construction of a concrete pit.
What will this new element of the landscape look like and when will it emerge? Jean Pierre will certainly keep us aware of what will happen on the ground. In any case it will be a huge relief to see over or at least seriously undermined a very negative environmental situation for Lake Saint-François-Xavier. Still, do not applaud too soon. It is a bit like to bring zero budget deficits; the environmental situation of a lake can begin to improve only when it stops at least to deteriorate. But the means to see to the follow-up of the state of health of Lake Saint-François-Xavier do not allow us to know where we stand in this regard. Our Committee on Lake Health has already implemented the project to identify and assess vulnerability zones of the Lake. Trying finding solutions will have to follow.
As our president has said, everyone has his role to play in monitoring the environment, and we are counting on each of you.

          Carl C.


Water quality 2013 RSVL (VLMP)

In summer 2013, samples of water collected for the ALSFX, by Colleen and Felix Hausermann, in one of the deepest sector of the Lake, have been analysed to assess three physico chemical variables: total phosphorus, chlorophyll a and organic carbon. The first operation of this kind under the VLMP program was in summer 2008. It will be renewed in 2014, since it is now evaluated necessary to proceed on two, or even three consecutive years. 
This operation was added to the annual water transparency evaluation assessed using the Secchi disk, now skillfully handled by Felix. These readings are taken for more than two decades. They were formerly carried out by the Inter-Lacs firm, then by FAPEL. In 1999, Eric Kristensen made the current disk, which allowed the Association to carry out the readings by itself. A decade later, André Soucy reshaped and put a new rope to the instrument he was in charge of. The idea to add a crown of submersible lights was dropped... In 1998 and 99, the transparency measure reached more than 6 m in the pit of the Montfort basin.
The evaluation of transparency gives slightly cloudy water for 2013.
The set of physico chemical variables indicate that the Lake has few, if any, signs of eutrophication.
The tiny yellow squares, in the last graph, position the Lake on the trophic level classification scale. (To the left of the scale, it is paradise; right, hell.)
Note: Hyperlinks for the VLMP tables are not yet available; meanwhile, you will find here only extracts.

Transparence et physicochimie

Transparency 2013

     Average summer transparency (Secchi disk depth in metres)

Classification of trophic level (summer 2013)

Water quality: a guide

September 7th, 2013

MDDEFP has just published a new guide answering Lake associations interrogations concerning lake water analysis, in its bacteriological segment: . It may contain information for review of our programs. It seems that our Géostar analysis is in the line of what is recommended.
However, one might not find really new things in this guide and might not find a clear answer on what is the appropriate frequency of sampling or the appropriate number of sites in relation to the importance (surface, volume, etc.) of a lake. There is a word on «composite samples» rather than punctual ones that might be of some evaluation in our case. There is a section on looking at the tributary waterways as well.
Let us mention some lessons. For one, the bacteriological state of a lake is normally not an indication or a cause of its aging; and so, one would conclude that we should not consider that working on the first brings much on the latter. Fighting water bacteriological pollution for example doesn’t change much as far as lake aging is concerned. A few other myths are also demystified.
It is also written that WLMP (RSVL) is interested in getting copy of results of bacterial water analysis done by lake associations. This might induce a comparison between lakes and help develop norms.
Reading the guide might give us a clearer view of where we stand in the knowledge of that topic in a more formal and detailed presentation that each one individually may have in mind.
                                      C. C.


Water quality (Geostar tests)

Color, pH, turbidity, by sampling site, 2013

Lake Health: survey

The 2007-2017 governmental plan of intervention on blue-green algae has been added a component to finance development of intervention tools projects dealing with the blue-green algae and eutrophication threat on our lakes. The choice of projects to be funded is the responsibility of a representative working committee. 
The task of inventory and assessment of current or in development tools was given to the Regroupement des organismes de bassins versants du Québec  (ROBVQ), which now wants to reach all other groups involved in this process through a survey.
Following a few questions looking for preferred approaches by respondents, the first part of the survey deals with the perception of these respondents facing current tools such as «La trousse des lacs», «Fiches sur l’aménagement et l’entretien des propriétés résidentielles», «Guide d’identification des cyanobactéries», «Le guide technique de gestion environnementale des fossés», «le Guide de renaturalisation de rives», from RAPPEL, the book guide «Aménagement et techniques de restauration des bandes riveraines», the CRE’s book guide on septic installations, «le Guide de gestion des eaux pluviales» and «Les algues bleu-vert dans nos plans d’eau». It also looks for their possible need for new tools.
The second part focuses on the assessment, by those who use them, of the nine major tools and book guides mentioned above.
We have until February 13 to respond to the survey and we invite those who would like to do so to contact us to get the coordinates.


Report on the periphyton

Our report, containing the location of the twelve monitoring sites and the description of the periphyton at Lake St. François-Xavier, on Excel file, has been sent to the authorities of the VLMP (RSVL).  As no data processing tool would yet exist, our report will feed a data-bank and will thus contribute to development of more specific standards for the widespread use of this protocol in Quebec. Analysis of our data by experts of the MDDEFP and the conclusions for Lake St. François-Xavier could therefore be defined only after some years of application of the protocol at the specified geographic scale.
It is said that the presence and thickness of the periphyton in a lake may vary over the years; this would therefore require a mechanism for vanishing and regeneration, as for aquatic plants. According to Ms. Mélissa Laniel, from CRE-Laurentides, we would be able to see the evolution of the presence of periphyton at the Lake by comparing data to those that we should pick up over the next two years on sites of monitoring, and then at a resumed sequence in five years for example. 
For now, we see that this layer of microorganisms and other material is present on all the rocks of the Lake and that it covers them fully, with a thickness of about 1 mm, rarely more. The only conclusion that we can draw for now, would be that any increase in its thickness would indicate an accelerated eutrophication, mainly caused then by an increased phosphorus contribution; the latter being closely linked to the presence of periphyton. 
The color of this carpet of periphyton, uniformly greenish brown, perhaps could give us other indications. Similarly, the small thickness differences according to the selected sites are probably carrying information specific to these sites but which require interpretation. The almost absolute absence of periphyton in filamentous form must also have a meaning.
Thirteen pages of the report may be a little repetitive; however, if you want copy, we will forward it to you by e-mail. Obviously, you would not be prevented from doing your own analysis of your shoreline rocks surface, located between thirty and one hundred centimeters below water level, during the required period, and to provide us your comments. You are also welcome with your underwater camera at the next opportunity...
                                                                                                                C.C. September 7th, 2013


Periphyton: Felix dives!

On August 5, by a beautiful day, Colleen Horan, Felix and I visited and analysed rocks of the coastline of the Newaygo Section of the Lake. Felix Hausermann easily locates the sites determined the previous week with John Wilson. He also had well recorded Ms. Mélissa Laniel’s, from CRE-Laurentides, guidelines at the Lake Croche training session. Encrypted codes, 1 to 4 for each of the different variables, come out of his mouth repeatedly. It is 6 data for each of the 10 rocks of a site. In two hours the periphyton is measured, identified and classified at the six selected sites. The next day, the same precision is applied, but, at the end, Felix can go as far as communicating us the data for 3 rocks at a time! I have hard time at sharpening my pencil, which peels of wood and mine will unfortunately join the trunks at the bottom of the Lake...
Not a lot of varieties in the results; the thickness of the periphyton is often limited to 1 mm; it sometimes climbs at 2 and, occasionally 3 mm (section 3 of Newaygo Sector, i.e. the Bay where I have my cottage, and section 11 of the Montfort Sector, in the 'Church Lake', beyond the last houses of the village, to the East of the bridge, on the northwest shore). At site 3, in front of my property, the slightest movement of Felix on the bottom of the lake is stirring the thick layer of silt making it difficult taking measures. The case will happen again in a shallow site of the Montfort Sector.
The covering of the rocks is almost always more than 75% (code 4) and invariably of brown color, with one exception in green. Felix attributes it to the presence of all the dead wood accumulated at the bottom when wood floating was going on.
Nowhere has he noted the presence of periphyton in the form of filaments rather than the traditional carpet.
Only the size of rocks visited by Felix will vary from 10 to more than 100cm; however, on August 6th, at site 7 of the Montfort Sector, between the marina and the mouth of the stream tributary of Lake Miroir, he will find only a single rock, surely the one visible on John’s sketch. We just lost a site. The round trip will be completed in a little over two hours, as the day before and again with beautiful weather. But the water was not very hot and without its diving suit, Felix would have perhaps suffered from it.

Periphyton: Localisation of sites

August, 3rd, 2013
On 30 and 31 July, John Wilson and Felix Hausermann patrolled all the littoral zone of the Lake to find the most beautiful rocks... In fact they had to determine twelve sites of ten to twenty meters width which will be the subject of analysis of periphyton before mid-August...  They have brought a gallery of photos of beautiful rocks; but we need to keep you going for now.
A team will return to visit all these sites. Equipped with a tuba, goggles and a ruler they need to measure and describe the layer of periphyton to 30 points on all of the rocks, 3 points for 10 rocks; in all 360 records not to be misplaced! Everything will be translated in figures or letters, even the observed colors. The member of the team remained in the boat will record data which will be communicated to him with a pencil, hoping not to see his compilation slide in the water.  Don't be so surprised to see circulate our team and especially surprise them to look at your rocks... 
Of course, the Committee on Lake Health will make a film in IMAX, with surround sound and articulated seats, to communicate the results of its research, once they are studied by the authorities of the VLMP (RSVL). Generous donors welcome.

Training on the periphyton

We much enjoyed our day at the biological station of the Université de Montreal, at Lac Croche, St. Hyppolyte*. 
Finally, it was a nice day to be outside. Ms. Mélissa Laniel, CRE-Laurentides, gave the theoretical course in the morning; while the 46 participants, mainly from multiple Lake Associations, gathered into seven groups for the work on the ground in the afternoon.
There are multiple elements in the approach to measure and evaluate the layer of periphyton (algae, microorganisms, etc.) on the coastal rocks. The equipment is also important and one was floundering a bit before finding the right vein and especially the good method. Once in place, the work gets done yet safely and at good pace.
Analysis of periphyton would be the fastest index among those offered by the RSVL, to evaluate the evolution of harmful intake of phosphorus in a lake.
In addition, improvised business cards were exchanged and promises of cooperation between associations also were.
Now, what’s left is to apply the testing protocol to Lake Saint-François-Xavier, between mid-July and mid-August and resume it two years away. Zones of analysis will have to be determined to give a good representation of the body of water if not the whole Lake, so that the results can reflect the evolution of the whole body. 
These results will remain experimental pending the conclusions that specialists will take on the preliminary application of this new protocol for analysis of the health of our lakes. The RSVL should add them to those that they communicate and make public each year. Photos of the team really at work should reach us later. Dave and Felix really got wet...
*In the middle of the first body of the lake, there is a small cabin on a raft. It is packed with scientific instruments for analysis of water, direction of wind, etc. "This is not a toilet" had replied the young lady at the commands of our craft, to whom I had asked to come alongside for a few moments...

Water samples for the VLMP

Samplings and analyses for trace of total phosphorus, chlorophyll a and dissolved organic carbon, are one of the indicators chosen by the VLMP (RSVL) to evaluate the quality and the state of health of a lake. Ours goes back to 2008. As recommended we are repeating these samplings this year, as well as in 2014.
Mrs. Colleen Horan, of our Executive, has received the equipment necessary for this collection from the VLMP authorities and will start sampling this weekend. There will be three levies during the season, on the dates specified by the VLMP, in June, July and August. They are taken at the deepest point of the Lake, over the eastern pit (16.9 m) . 

A bottle, securely attached to a stick is pushed down to a meter in water above this pit, the bottleneck upward; it must come out full of water. Its’ content is distributed in three appropriate sampling bottles, of which two contain different levels of acid. All three sample bottles are kept in a cooler on dry ice, and are sent to the government lab via DICOM. The cooler and ice packs will then be returned to Colleen for the next collection.



VLMP: looking for volunteers

This summer we intend to join a new RSVL protocol aimed at better understanding the nature of Periphyton close to the shoreline, i.e. increased growth of “slime” on submerged rocks & structures. (Document in French; however, contains images that describe many of the protocol components). From US EPA:

LVolunteers will follow a short training given by the authorities of the program. With their boots of fisherman, tubas, etc., they could be assigned to explore some sites near the lake shore or to compile the results.
Mrs. Marie-Cécile Tarissants, biologist, from l'Association des résidants propriétaires du lac La Salle, at Val-Morin, came to meet members of our Lake Health Committee, on May 18, to make them share her experience in analysis of the periphyton at their lake.
The Committee is also looking for volunteers on another initiative for the study of the lake that will soon be unveiled to you.
Get in touch with John Wilson for more details or with the Association.
Note: Mrs. Manon Ouelet(te), of Min.DDEFP, informs us that no cost is attributed to the associations for the analysis, by the authorities of the RSVL program, of the data collected by the volunteers. Associations are free to use their equipment or buy tools or other that they intend to use.


VLMP (RSVL): results for water transparency 

April 19, 2013
The Volunteer Lake-Monitoring Program (VLMP/RSVL) group has just published on its website graphics of the results of that operation for 2012 it had already sent us*.

In 2008, Lake Saint-François-Xavier Association conducted the analysis of samples and the measure of the transparency of the water of the lake, with the RSVL program, and has carried on with this last measure since then. The water transparency (the depth to which the Secchi disk is always visible) is one of the operations of the monitoring of the quality of water by the RSVL.

"The transparency measures are carried out at a point that is usually located in the deepest area of the lake."( Here, this site has a 17 meters depth.

"The measure of the transparency of the water using the Secchi disk must be done every two weeks, from early June to early October and each year.».
"It is a variable which is useful to highlight the long-term change in the quality of the water and the state of the lac» and easy to measure."

Apart from mineral materials in suspension in the water, such as sand, silt, etc. and other physical factors that affect the transparency of the water of a lake, it can be said that it "decreases with the increase in the amount of algae (and other organisms) in the water of the lake." "There is a link between the transparency of the water of a lake and its trophic status (aging)."

Since 2008, our lake has always got a good note with this index, as shown in the chart titled «Transparence estivale moyenne» you will find on the RSVL website (look there for: Lac Saint-François-Xavier, Sommaire). In 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, the average annual depth of visibility of the Secchi disk was of 4.8, 3.8, 4.5, 4.4 and 4.7 meters for a global average of 4.4 meters, which characterizes an oligo-mesotrophic state and clear water. The perfect situation would be "ultra-oligotrophic" and the worst: "hyper-eutrophic", with a visibility less than one meter.

Many thanks to the Hausermann who have taken the measures with the Secchi disk for 2012.

*The wording is in French.

Carl Chapdelaine

RSVL(VLMP): transparency results

VLMP (RSVL) analysis: municipal grant

While reading preceding paragraph, you would have noticed that measures and analysis for the trace of total phosphorus, chlorophyll a and dissolved organic carbon date back to 2008. It is recommended to repeat the sampling in 2013 and 2014.
A new commitment of our elected officials should, however, help the Association to deal with the part of costs associated with laboratory analyses carried out in Quebec. The reading of the minutes of the regular meeting of the municipal Council of March 11, 2013 tells us that the Council has accepted a proposal from Councilor André Payette to reimburse, up to 50%, laboratory water analysis fees charged to lake associations by the authorities of the RSVL, when these are required.

Click on the images to zoom

VLMP: Water quality follow up

  Table sent to the Association by the RSVL group, on February 20, 2013.

Index of transparency scale

Water quality

We have our analyses with Géostar,  and now, perhaps , with the RSVL(VLMP) program*. It is the health of the lake that is at stake. The Association has been involved in testing for a long time. A global internal evaluation of our actions is presently underway by the Executive and will be presented at the next AGM.  Your involvement in the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program will be welcome.

Erosion control in slopes

To intercept and collect runoff in middle of a slope, one has developped a kind of channel sink, paired here with a collecting basin on the low side of the bike-way. We are here in the Île-de-la-Visitation nature park ,within 100 meters from Rivière-des-Prairies, in Montreal.

An elongated depression on down-hill side of the runway will retain water run-off.

Erosion Control

The sedimentation input in our inhabited lakes caused by natural and especially human erosion (construction and road maintenance, sanding, etc.) is an alarming factor of degradation of these. Siltation and the accelerated eutriphication of our lakes is the main consequence and probably the worst of the threats facing them.
A bed of small rocks has been landed in the ditch while rue Principale, in Montfort, was repaved. Those rocks will slow down the water carrying sand, gravel, etc. Now, it should be collected and picked up...
Watch for our article, «Save our Lake from sedimentation» and for our Health of the Lake evaluation projects, in our spring edition of the Newsletter.

Rocks in the ditch, one year later!

Main sewer full of sand

Erosion & Sedimentation

Invasive species

Note: Sorry for the English version; your help is needed for translation. 

Giant hogweed
                We indeed had one of that Giant Hogweed at Montfort doorstep, just before arriving to the Val Lisbourg by getting from Lake Chevreuil. One of our members had not made a false analyse there. The gigantic plant, of an invasive species, was on a private property. Some would make it even a decorative plant.
                The governmental authorities in Quebec recommend to get rid of it while taking care not to hurt one self (to cover one self from head to foot, because its sap can cause serious hurts, fever, etc.) We are even suggested to watch for its presence in spring, before it can spread its pollen or possibly its seeds. But it is also necessary to discuss with the owner of the property in any case. It is more imperative when it represents an immediate threat for children.               
                The Giant Hogweed must not be taken for the cow parsnip (heracleum maximum) also known as Indian celery or pushki, the only North America’s native hogweed.


Shore protection

Renaturalisation de la rive 18 juillet 2011
Aujourd'hui débutaient les travaux de renaturalisation de la rive du lac, en bordure du Pavillon (église), à Montfort; un point nodal sur le corridor aérobique. La MRC avait annoncé plus tôt ce projet modèle; une pancarte décrit l'opération et les buts visés. «Modèle», par son côté vert flamboyant! Et j'y passais justement par hasard.

Le constat sur ce lieu était très négatif; tout au contraire de la nature : les matériaux, la dégradation de la végétation, un espace de stationnement et de circulation automobile fortement sollicité et juste en bordure de lac. Et pourtant, la MRC promet de faire de ce site, fréquenté par les cyclistes, les promeneurs et autres, une aire d'accueil écologique, avec tables, passerelles, quais, végétaux, etc., un modèle à suivre.

Sous l'œil des spécialistes, les travaux comprennent l'enlèvement minutieux des traverses de chemin de fer qui consolidaient la rive, mais qui sentent toujours la créosote. La petite pelle mécanique qui procède à l'excavation requise fonctionne aux huiles et graisses végétales.

Un rideau, comme l'on en voit lors de déversements d'hydrocarbures, a été aligné au large de la rive, lesté par une chaîne dans son ourlet inférieur et tenu au niveau de l'eau par des «spaghettis» glissés dans son ourlet supérieur, m'explique monsieur le maire. On peut voir sous l'eau que les sédiments remués ne traversent pas ce rideau.
De la matière absorbante est disponible, je ne sais plus exactement à quelles fins. De la paille sera étendue sur le remblaiement de terre en attendant, pour qu'elle ne soit pas lessivée par la pluie.

J'oubliais; le plus beau, c'est que l'on sollicite vos bras, le jeudi 28 juillet, pour la plantation de végétaux… Il faut s'inscrire auprès de la municipalité, au 450 226-2416. C'est bien vrai; l'ALSFX et ses membres ont pour mission de voir à l'environnement de notre lac!



Key agencies involved in the environment of our lakes in Quebec 

Nous entendons souvent parler du MDDEFP, du RSVL, du CRE, etc., sans bien pouvoir déchiffrer ces sigles et acronymes ou situer ces organismes dans l'administration des programmes sur l'environnement de nos lacs. Connaître leur rôle et leur interaction n'est guère plus simple. En regardant la définition ou les fonctions qu'ils s'attribuent eux-mêmes, nous pouvons toutefois y voir un peu plus clair. Voici les noms, le classement et le champ d'activité des principaux organismes qui nous intéressent, par niveau d'administration :

Gouvernement fédéral :
Environnement Canada : Réglementation, recherche, technologie, normes; 5 régions, dont le Québec.
•RHC (Relevés Hydrologiques du Canada) : La surveillance de la qualité de l'eau, en partenariat avec les provinces et les territoires, grâce à 2500 stations actives d'observation hydrométrique; expertise technologique reconnue.
Transports Canada (et Ministère de la Justice) : Réglementation sur l'utilisation des embarcations.
Pêches et Océans Canada : Protection de l'habitat du poisson.

Gouvernement provincial :
MDDEFP (Min. du Développement durable, de l'Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs) – Section Rivières et lacs : Rivières et bassins-versants, lacs (RSVL, bandes riveraines, etc.), algues bleu-vert; faune depuis sept. 2012 : espèces et habitat fauniques, pêche, ensemencement.
•RSVL (Réseau de surveillance volontaire des lacs), en collaboration avec les organismes (CRE et Bleu-Laurentides, associations de lac) : «Établir le niveau trophique (vieillissement) d'un grand nombre de lacs et suivre leur évolution … Éduquer, soutenir et informer les associations et les autres participants»; etc.
•CEAEQ (Centre d'Expertise en Analyse Environnementale du Québec) : C'est un laboratoire; on y analyse, entre autres, les échantillons d'eau pour le RSVL.
•CCEQ (Centre de Contrôle Environnemental du Québec) : Respect de la législation et de la conformité environnementale. Tél. : 418 521-3861
•La Direction générale de l'analyse et de l'expertise régionales : Autorisations et expertises environnementales en région.
•CEHQ (Centre d'expertise hydrique du Québec) : barrages, régime hydrique et domaine hydrique de l'État.
MRC (Municipalités Régionales de Comté); (Palier de gouvernement supra municipal réaménagé en 1979 et relevant du Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l'Occupation du territoire. Son Conseil est composé des maires qui peuvent désigner le préfet parmi l'un des leurs) > MRC des Pays-d'en-Haut (Depuis 2001, son préfet a plutôt été élu au suffrage universel. Il est membre, avec les sept autres préfets de la région, du CRÉ-Laurentides, la Conférence Régionale des Élus des Laurentides, principalement impliquée dans le développement régional.
•Section Lacs et cours d'eau : Protection, gestion des cours d'eau, schémas d'aménagement, mesures législatives, etc.

•Municipalité de Wentworth-Nord
=Services :
< Service de l'environnement : Lacs et cours d'eau, bandes riveraines, gestion des eaux usées et installations sanitaires, etc.
< Service de l'urbanisme : Plan d'urbanisme, règlements de zonage [ex. interdiction de (re)construction, renaturalisation de la rive, quais, murs de soutènement, droits d'accès aux lacs], etc.
=Comités :
<Le CCU (Comité Consultatif d'Urbanisme) : Il est formé de 6 citoyens nommés par le Conseil et qui lui font des recommandations (ex. dérogations au zonage).
<Comité sur l'Environnement : L'un d'une dizaine de comités consultatifs dévolu à un conseiller municipal ou supervisé par lui.
<Comité sur les Terrains orphelins : Voir à la vocation de ces lots au lac St-François-Xavier.
•Le Parc régional des Pays-d'en-Haut : «Un regroupement d'espaces voués à la récréation en plein air …, sous la responsabilité de la MRC.»)

Organismes à but non lucratifs (OBNL) ou paragouvernementaux
CRE-Laurentides (Conseil régional de l'environnement des Laurentides)* : Promouvoir le développement durable, sensibiliser les décideurs locaux à protéger et valoriser l'environnement. Huit postes, i.e. la majorité, de son conseil d'administration sont réservés aux organismes environnementaux, cinq postes à toute catégorie. De nombreuses associations de lac en sont membres.

•Bleu-Laurentides (pour les lacs) : Applique le programme de protection et du suivi de la santé des lacs du CRE-Laurentides (Accompagnement et formation aux protocoles du RSVL pour les associations de lacs; offre de soutien technique. Association du CRE à l'Université de Montréal et à la Station de biologie des Laurentides, via le Dr R. Carignan, pour la réalisation de cartes bathymétriques de lacs. Appui scientifique et technique du CRE aux municipalités et MRC.)

•Éco-Corridors laurentiens : Favoriser la création d'éco-corridors de conservation.

Abrinord (Agence de bassin versant de la Rivière du Nord)* : Coordination de la gestion de l'eau à l'échelle du bassin versant de la Rivière du Nord, par concertation, planification, plan directeur de l'eau, etc. Ces organismes de bassin versant (OBV) sont les interlocuteurs privilégiés du MDDEFP, relativement aux questions environnementales, et offrent leurs services aux municipalités et autres organisations.

RAPPEL (Regroupement des Associations Pour la Protection de l'Environnement des Lacs et cours d'eau de l'Estrie…) : «Privilégier l'action-solution et l'éducation environnementale…»; offre de services aux riverains et organismes.

Fondation Hydro-Québec pour l'environnement : Elle se définit comme un OBNL ayant pour mission d'aider les collectivités québécoises à s'approprier leur environnement. Elle subventionne des projets qui «prévoient des interventions concrètes sur des sites clairement définis … et dont les retombées environnementales … sont mesurables».

Fédération canadienne de la faune : Projet «Love your lake» en Ontario, avec Shell Canada.

Conservation de la nature Canada (CNC) :

Regroupements et associations de lac : Associations de propriétaires ou résidents pour la protection de l'environnement des lacs, la représentation de leurs membres, etc. Elles commandent des analyses d'eau; participent aux programmes offerts par les organismes gouvernementaux, surveillent la santé du lac et sensibilisent ses riverains, etc. Elles sont des OBNL autonomes, financées par leurs membres. > Ass. du Lac St-François-Xavier , Ass. des propriétaires du Lac St-Victor, Ass. des résidents du Lac Farmer, ABVLACS (L'agence des bassins versants de Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs) : Regroupement des associations de lacs pour la concertation (municipalités, commerçants, citoyens) pour améliorer la santé de leurs lacs et cours d'eau; etc.

Conservation Ontario: Un regroupement de 36 autorités de conservation et d'organisations de protection de l'environnement regroupés en bassins-versants (quelques liens en français).

SOPRÉ (Société du Parc régional des Pays-d'en-Haut) : «Un organisme de consultation dont la mission consiste à participer étroitement à la planification et au développement du Parc régional, en collaboration avec la MRC.)
Centre for Sustainable Watersheds (CSW):

*Conseils d'administration autonomes mais subventions de fonctionnement du MDDEFP.

Universités et autres

Station biologique des Laurentides (Univ. de Mtl; reliée au Dr Richard Carignan) : laboratoire, centre de recherche; production de cartes bathymétriques; autres.

GRIL (Groupe de Recherche Interuniversitaire en Limnologie et environnement aquatique), Univ. du Québec à Trois-Rivières : regroupe la recherche en limnologie de huit universités du Québec.

Gouvernement de l'Ontario
Ministère de l'environnement – Eau : réglementation, surveillance et protection, etc.

Gouvernement des É.U.__
USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) – Water: Eau potable et souterraine, lacs et cours d'eau, bassins-versants, terrains humides, eaux usées et ruissellement.

Par Carl Chapdelaine, ALSFX