Below is a brief discussion of the concerns which led to the formation of the White Lake Preservation Project and a list of objectives
towards which we are working. We have completed to date an extensive survey of White Lake Property Owner's opinions and concerns about
our lake and are now organizing a meeting of volunteers from around the lake to discuss and formulate our plan. Some of the objectives
of the WLPP are given below.
Our Major Concerns
1. Quality of the Water
In 2013, 2014 and 2015 there were blue-green algal
blooms on the Lake One of these blooms produced high and dangerous levels of toxins in the lake water. Since the infestation
of White Lake by zebra mussels starting in 2016, we now have lake-wide blooms of green filamentous algae along the shore, especially
where zebra mussel concentrations are high.
We are also concerned about an increase in weed growth on the lake, both native plants
and possibly introduced species. The presence of zebra mussels has resulted in a much higher clarity of the lake allowing more sunlight
to reach virtually all of the lake bottom. This will result in an increase in aquatic plants over time. Invasive species such as Phragmites
have been found in several locations along the shoreline. This plant will displace cattail in our marshes and also make it more difficult
for animals to traverse these marshes. Other invasive plants could enter the lake resulting in a degradation of the quality of White
Lake especially for recreational purposes.
Increases in algae and weeds are primarily the result of the levels of Phosphorus
in the water. Excess phosphorus levels in the Lake are primarily the result of human activity. It comes from septic systems (human
waste and phosphorus containing cleaning products) and from fertilizers and pet waste. Phosphorus is not contained by septic systems.
How fast it reaches the lake depends to some extent on the kind and age of the septic system, the amount of use of the system e.g.
all year vs seasonal, on distance from the lake, the kind of soil, and the vegetation between the source of the phosphorus and the
Lake. Once phosphorus levels become high in a lake it is virtually impossible to rectify the situation. Phosphorus also enters the
lake from release from sediments. This is especially evident in White Lake. The levels of phosphorus detected in white lake (especially
prior to zebra mussel infestation) coupled with the occurrence of toxic algal blooms confirms that White Lake is a CAPACITY in relation
to further development. Any development on a lake deemed at capacity must be done by the strictest adherence to bylaws and well
known best practices which serve to protect the shoreline and at the same time add no more additional nutrients (phosphorus) into
2. Increased Development on the Lake
Currently a new 200-site trailer park is proposed for the Lake at Bennetís
Point on Hayes Bay beside Bayview Lodge. These are to be 3-season sites, together with a marina and a swimming pool. It is beside
a provincially protected wetland. This new trailer park will require a significant sewage system, draw a large amount of
water from the Lake and will add significantly to boat traffic. The proposed site is in the Municipality of Mississippi Mills.
The trailer Park application, as approved by the Municipality, is currently the subject of an Ontario Municipal Board hearing
set to commence in early February. The opponents to this project ask that it be scaled down in unit numbers and that proper setbacks
(30 m) be enforced along the shoreline.
Algonquin Land Claims Settlement
A large section of the north shore and
almost all of Hardwood Island is part of the Algonquin Land Claim. The eventual disposition of these lands is unknown however, we
look forward to working with the Algonquin's in ensuring the long term health of White Lake.
3. Some of the Things We Have Been Doing
the frequency of sampling for phosphorus on the Lake through the provincial Lake Partner Program.
- We have
completed extensive and systematic studies of the chemistry and biology of White Lake and have reported our findings
in our annual Water
Quality Monitoring Program reports.
- Involved the Ministry of the Environment and the local Health Unit in
identifying algae and quantifying toxins present
- Collaborating with Carleton University and supporting a graduate
student to study lake water and sediments.
- Met with all 4 Townships about our concerns about the Lake. We would like the
Townships to work together in future on factors
which affect the whole lake.
- Hired consultant and are in
the process of producing a comprehensive State of the Lake Report and Lake Plan.
- Carried out an extensive survey of property
owners on the lake regarding concerns. Results published on website.
- Identifying volunteers to help with the project.
We are looking for chemists, naturalists, communicators, writers, computer
assistance and anyone who could help
us in any way to further the goals of the White Lake Preservation Project.
- Developing a Lake Management Plan -
a strategic process that provides the opportunity to engage property owners,
business operators, visitors and governments
to develop and implement actions to maintain or improve the natural and social
qualities of life on the lake.
- Developing a Stewardship Program to prevent further degradation of and to rehabilitate parts of the Lake.
water level management at White Lake Dam.
- Promoting through educational programs goods practices for lake quality management
for all those who use and enjoy White Lake.
White Lake Preservation Project