CEWF Update: Coalition for Equitable Water Flow

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Nov 232016

 – Water Management Update – Low Water Levels

In This Issue…

Parks Canada Issues a Water Management Update for the Trent-Severn Basin

On November 17th the Parks Canada posted a Water Management Update for the entire Trent – Severn watershed (click here) noting low water levels across the reservoir area and the risk that levels may decline further. The Update confirms that all of the reservoir dams have been at their winter set levels since the first of October. However lake levels have continued to fall because of the lack of normal fall rainfall. The flow in both the Gull and Burnt Rivers is also very low. The Update further notes that lake levels may continue to fall and residents should be aware of the risk of very low water levels this winter unless we begin to see significant rainfall.

The extreme drought conditions that persisted throughout the summer have now continued through the fall. Haliburton has received only 170mm of precipitation since the first of September compared to a normal of 316mm. 44mm of that total fell on one day in mid-October so in fact the drought is even more severe than the totals show. So far through three weeks of November we have received only 18mm of precipitation compared to a normal of 87mm. In a normal year we expect the reservoirs to reach their lowest levels in mid to late October and then stabilize or recover somewhat in late fall into winter. This year we have experienced a continuing decline in levels on most reservoirs and in some cases levels are approaching the 30 year minimum levels. This situation is a threat to the lake trout spawn and may result in levels that will impact water intakes in shallow water. Because there is very little or no inflow to the system there is no action which can be taken to stop the decline.

The Weather Network Winter Forecast

On November 21, The Weather Network posted their long range forecast for the next three months (click here). The forecast is for below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation for central Ontario. Unless we get significant rainfall in the early winter we may not see the reservoir levels rebound until the spring melt. The Great Lakes are warmer than normal and as a result lake effect rainfall and particularly snowfall events may extend from Georgian Bay across the reservoir areas this fall and winter depending on wind direction. We definitely need above average precipitation this winter to restore the water balance across the Trent basin and then allow the reservoirs to be replenished in the spring runoff.


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Water Level Forecast Sep 26 – Oct 10, 2016

Boyd Island: Frequently Asked Questions

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Nov 072016

Frequently Asked Questions

Please Note: The variously named Big, Boyd or Chiminis Island and surrounding outer islands are referred to as “Island” or “the Island” throughout this FAQ.

Q1: Now that Kawartha Land Trust (KLT) owns the Island, I am hearing that it is ‘off limits’ and that the public is no longer permitted to go to the Island.  Is this true?

A1:  The Island is open for public use.  Historically, permission was given to use the Island to some fishing guides and indigenous people during the period of Boyd family ownership (1873-1990).  There were early settler users and use by indigenous peoples for thousands of years prior to the Boyd ownership.  Since 1990, however, the Island has been privately owned and anyone using the Island was trespassing.

As the new owner of the Island, and in keeping with the wishes of the donors, Mike and Terry Wilson, Kawartha Land Trust has opened the Island for public use.  We ask that you please tread lightly, and follow guidelines that will ensure overall long-term protection of the Island.

Q2: I understand that the donors of the Island kept some of it. Is this true?

A2:  To date, the vast majority of the Island has been donated to the Kawartha Land Trust, with two small parcels and one small outer island being retained by the donors, Mike and Terry Wilson.  The Wilsons also have given Kawartha Land Trust the right of first refusal on the lots they retained in the event that they choose to put them up for sale outside of their immediate family.

A letter to the editor from donor Mike Wilson has appeared in the Kawartha This Week, Peterborough Examiner and The Kawartha Promoter.  It is also available on KLT’s website.  It outlines the donation and the donor’s intentions.

Q3: I was under the impression that the $1 million dollars raised during the campaign was going to be used to maintain the Island.  Now I am hearing that the money was used to buy the Island.  What happened to the money raised during the campaign?

A3: KLT did not buy the Island. The Island was generously donated to KLT by Mike and Terry Wilson.  The Wilsons also donated an additional $100,000 to the fundraising campaign and donated a further $50,000 to support costs of the property transfer.   The $1 million raised during the campaign has been used to create a dedicated stewardship fund.  It is KLT’s intention to preserve this fund by investing in conservative assets to cover the ongoing costs of ownership over the long term. KLT’s Audit and Finance Committee has hired a fund manager to manage the funds in keeping with these objectives and Canada Revenue Agency regulations governing the donation.

Q4: Now that KLT has acquired the Island, what do you intend to do with it?

A4:   Now that the Island is safe from development, we are committed to finding the balance between public uses and protecting and preserving the Island for generations to come.  The Kawartha Land Trust is developing a Stewardship Plan that will allow the public to continue to enjoy the Island while maintaining the Island’s natural and cultural features.

There are many fascinating natural and cultural features about the Island, stories about the history of use by early settlers to the area and, in the case of First Nation Communities, for more than three thousand years.  Significant archaeological resources have already been discovered and some documented, as have rare and significant natural features.  More plans are in the works to research and inventory the full extent of these features.  The Island is designated as an ANSI or “Area of Natural and Scientific Interest” by the Province of Ontario.

Q5: Does the community have a voice in what plans are put in place for the Island?

A5: A Management Team of 15 local volunteers has been established to provide advice to KLT on the Property Management Plan and activities for the Island. The Management Advisory team has a diverse local membership almost all of whom were involved in the campaign to enable the donation of the property.  Volunteers include full-time and seasonal residents, cottagers, boaters, major donors, business leaders and experts in conservation and land stewardship.

The Management Advisory Team has been actively reaching out to the community and will continue to seek input on how best to encourage use and enjoyment of this gift.  Open house discussions and surveys are just two of the many ways that public input is being sought.

Q6: It seems like a number of decisions were made in advance of public input being sought.

A6: From 1990 to 2016, users of the Island were doing so as trespassers. The liability a landowner assumes for trespassers is limited.

However, now that KLT owns most of the Island and is allowing public use for permitted activities, KLT has a duty of care to ensure careful and responsible uses. These activities must be in keeping with the donor’s wishes, Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program requirements and the limitations of KLT’s insurance policy. At the outset of spring, KLT volunteers and staff were obligated to move quickly to ensure that use of the Island was in keeping with these externally determined parameters.  Ultimately it is KLT’s wish that activities on the Island ensure a high standard of care and long-term protection for the Island as a first principle. Existing structures and docks on the Island were unsafe and did not meet building standards and insurance expectations.  As a courtesy, all known former users of structures were contacted in person in advance of those structures being removed by KLT volunteers and staff.

Going forward, interpretative and trail signage will be developed to celebrate the history and the natural and cultural features of the Island.  We encourage you to let us know what additional educational features you’d like to see on the Island, what stories and features should be represented by such signs or any other ideas you may have.

Q7: Why have camping and fires been banned on the Island?

A7:  As promised during the campaign, the issues surrounding camping and fires were reviewed. After careful consideration of all the factors and in an effort to manage the Island responsibly including limiting the opportunity for a lawsuit that could deplete the fund and KLT’s capacity to manage the Island in the long term, the camping and fire ban of the previous owners is being upheld.

•       Factors include:

•       The donor’s conditions and expectations;

•       The rules of the Environment Canada’s Ecological Gifts program, under which the land was donated (Regulations state that KLT “cannot undertake or tolerate any action that results in or could result in a diminution of the ecological character or protection of the ecological gift”);

•       Fires on the Island are the responsibility of the Township of Trent Lakes Fire Department.  Although the Fire Department has boats, the closest boat is kept in Buckhorn.  A fire would be well underway by the time firefighting equipment could reach the Island. Access is difficult and the sheer size of the Island would make successful attempts to contain a fire highly unlikely.  With no homes or life at risk, should fire erupt the Island would likely be allowed to burn;

•       The charitable model of a land trust involves limited resources and paid staff.  It relies heavily on volunteers and focuses primarily on activities that do not require extensive management such as those associated with running an Island campground.  The Nature Conservancy of Canada, for instance, has a ‘no fires, no camping’ policy on all properties it owns in Canada.  Even if the above two bullets were not a factor, the standard of care required for the infrastructure of permitted camping far exceeds the resources available in the fund dedicated to managing the Island. The fund was set up to enable the donation of the Island by covering the basic expenses and costs of stewardship in the short term while putting first and foremost overall protection of the Island in the long term.

Q8: Why couldn’t things just stay the way they were.  The Island was really at no risk of being developed.

A8: Although some previous attempts to develop the Island were unsuccessful, Mattamy Homes had approval for a 95 home development.  Mike and Terry Wilson also obtained approval for development.  In August 2015, Mike and Terry Wilson received approval for ten large 12-acre estate lots in addition to a 1,000 acre +/- interior “open space” lot.  This would have given them permission to build 10 dwellings on the Island.  It was only a matter of time before the Island would have been lost to development.

The Boyd family had offered the Island to Parks Canada, Ontario Parks and the local municipality a number of times in the 1970s and 1980s, however, none of these levels of Government were willing to take on the risk of managing an island at that time.  The Island was ultimately sold by the family out of fear of the risk of a lawsuit.

The story of the Island to date represents an incredible journey with many players.  Many development scenarios were defeated by active community opposition and ultimately the lands fell into the hands of Mike and Terry Wilson and, due to their generosity and community action, we now have the good fortune to have the vast majority of the Island protected.  We believe that this is the best possible scenario that could have emerged from this journey to date.

Q9: What kind of activities will KLT permit on the Island?

A9: KLT generally allows low-impact recreational activities on its properties and works within the terms of the gift. The Island is available for public use for activities that are compatible with protecting and preserving the Island in its natural state. Permitted activities include the following:

·         Fishing

·         Swimming

·         Picnics

·         Hiking, walking, cross-country skiing and related recreation

·         Use of recreation facilities such as trails

·         Research and educational programs

Q10: Will you charge a fee to use the Island?

A10: Current KLT policy is to allow free use of all protected properties that are open to the public.

Q11: What activities will KLT not permit on the Island?

A11: Based on the wishes of the donor, the restrictions of the Environment Canada Ecological Gifts Program through which the Island was donated; and liability risk and insurance limitations, activities that are not compatible with exercising a high duty of care towards protecting the Island cannot be permitted.

Activities which are not permitted include:

•       Overnight camping

•       Hunting

•       Fires

•       Alcohol

•       Vehicle use

•      Harm to wildlife, vegetation or other features

Q12: Will boats still be able to moor alongside [tie to] the Island?  Will there be docks made available?

A12: KLT has no position on boats mooring offshore as they are doing so in a Federal Waterway. We may, however, discourage mooring or tying to shore in sensitive areas. An inventory of natural features of the Island is being done and this will inform the discussion of potential mooring restrictions. KLT will study this further to understand more fully the impact on the natural features of the Island.  KLT is actively seeking public input as to whether or not docks should be made available to allow easier access to the Island. Please let us know your feedback.

Q13: I’ve seen lots of garbage left on the Island or in shallow water. What is KLT going to do about that?

A13:  There is no doubt that the garbage problem is impacting the natural environment of the Island. We already have received a very supportive message from several of the local businesses and cottage associations and have completed several volunteer-led clean ups of the Island in 2016.  This issue will require ongoing attention and we are committed to continuous improvement. Kawartha Land Trust is in need of volunteers to help with ongoing Stewardship activities, please let us know if you can help.

It should be noted that Happy Days and Egan Marine Houseboat rentals have been very supportive, both during the campaign to secure the Island and through the Island’s ownership transition.  Houseboat operators are assisting us by educating their renters on the appropriate uses of the Island.  Renters are supplied with the Island brochure during their orientation before heading out on the water.

Q14: Have you involved local First Nations in this project?

A14:  Curve Lake First Nation has been an important supporter of this project.  KLT spoke to Curve Lake First Nation Council on three occasions in 2015 and to their Chief, staff and elders in 2016.  A representative of Curve Lake First Nation sits on the Management Advisory Team.  Curve Lake First Nation made a generous gift to the campaign to save the Island.

There is evidence of indigenous use of the Island dating back 3,000 years.

Q15: KLT is not allowing hunting on the Island but it does on other properties. Why can’t I hunt on the Island? There are duck blinds around the Island…what will happen to them

A15:  KLT cannot permit hunting on the Island as it excludes broader public use.  Each KLT property is unique and permissible uses are considered on a case-by-case basis.   Hunting is allowed on one KLT property as it was a condition of that particular property’s donation that the donors would retain the right of hunting for a ten-year period. This circumstance does not apply to Big (Boyd/Chiminis) Island. KLT cannot permit hunting, duck or other, on the Island for safety and liability reasons.  The KLT insurer does not insure for liability associated with hunting on this property.  Existing and any new duck blinds placed and located on the Island will be removed.  Hunting is not compatible either with the KLT duty of care for the Island and its wildlife or for the safety of members of the public using the Island.

Q16:  I understand that snowmobiling and ATV use are no longer permitted on the Island. Why?

A16:  Public vehicle use on the Island was not permitted by previous owners and KLT will continue with this measure in order to limit harm to vegetation and the many unique ecological features on the Island. The Island is home to many ecologically sensitive areas and our duty of care dictates that only low-impact activities that are compatible with the protecting of these areas are permitted.

Q17: Now that efforts have been made to clean up the Island and make it safe, what next?

A17: The Management Advisory Team will continue to seek input from the local community on how best to encourage use and enjoyment of this gift. Our duty of care will be the first principle.

KLT remains committed to managing the Island to protect the natural and cultural features while allowing compatible public use.  Our duty of care is to find the balance between public use and enjoyment of the Island and preservation and protection of the Island’s wildlife, vegetation and significant features for generations to come. We will move forward slowly and with care, the long-term protection of the Island being our primary goal.

Notice to Residents Effective January 1, 2017 Clear Garbage Bags Mandatory

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Sep 232016
January 1st, 2017 Clear Garbage Bags will become mandatory.

Downloads available:
Notice to Residents: Clear Garbage Bag Program
List of Local Clear Garbage Bag Retailers

Residents who are found not using clear garbage bags or garbage bags that contain more than 25% of recyclable material will be refused entry.

We encourage our residents to recycle more material, helping us to divert waste from our Transfer Station Sites.

Residents are permitted one small “privacy bag” within each clear bag for their personal items. This will provide an adequate method to enable residents to shield material that they would prefer not to be exposed. Such items may include sanitary products, diapers, incontinence products, financial information, medical objects or other personal items.

Thank you for your cooperation.

For more information and a list of retailers that sell clear garbage bags, visit our website at www.trentlakes.ca or contact the Municipal Office 705-738-3800 or 1-800-374-4009


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Adverse effects of fireworks on our environment

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Sep 222016

Effects of Fireworks on the Lake

Use of fireworks has been increasing.

According to the Canadian National Fireworks Association, importing of fireworks into Canada increased by almost 800% over a 10 year span, from 1.5 million kilograms in 2001 to over 8 million kilograms in 2011.

>>>More Information<<<

Federation of Ontario Cottagers Association (FOCA)

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Sep 222016

Why support FOCA?

Who supports FOCA?
FOCA represents 50,000 member families in more than 500 lake and road associations across Ontario. Member support drives this organization!
Our supporters are people like you who:
 care about clean and safe lakes
 are concerned about affordability
 treasure family time in cottage country!
Your lake. Your lifestyle. Your legacy.

Learn more…  member-benefits-2page-with-codes-june2016


Ratepayers spread out

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Aug 262016

Courtesy of The Kawartha Promoter

The North Pigeonpromoter_photo Lake Ratepayers Association is no longer. At their recent annual meeting, members voted unanimously to change the organization’s name to North Pigeon Lake Association (NPLA)—reflecting the new reality that many new members are not actually ratepayers on Pigeon Lake.
The new name is intended to encompass North Pigeon Lake and its catchment area, explained continuing president Janet Klein.
“We are all connected by the water,” she said. “It’s important that we all work together to care for it so we can all enjoy it.”
The meeting also heard from Kawartha Conservation’s Jayme Hughes and Warren Dunlop from Kawartha Land Trust.
Hughes explained how the Nogies Creek Waterway will be developed as a destination for recreational, cultural, educational and scientific activities—the result of a partnership between Kawartha Conservation, Fleming College, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests, Trent Lakes municipality, Trent University, Kawartha Land Trust and Curve Lake First Nation, plus other local agencies, associations and residents.
The partners are developing a management plan they expect will include a canoe route, self-guided nature trails for hiking, opportunities for scientific study, a fish sanctuary and opportunities for fisheries research as well as a recreational linkage with Chiminis, or Big/Boyd Island. All are invited to offer their input to the management plan by filling out an online survey at surveymonkey.com/r/TSK2M7D.
Dunlop outlined the work the Chiminis (Boyd/Big Island) Management Advisory Team (MAT) is doing since it was established in April to develop a stewardship plan for the island. This includes compiling background information on cultural and natural history; identifying knowledge gaps; recommending priorities, and undertaking assessment activities (e.g. Ecological Land Classification).
Preliminary stewardship activities include ensuring the property’s natural and cultural features are protected and conserved, and that it’s safe for public use (cleaning up garbage and fire pits; mapping existing trails and identifying hazards).
The completed Stewardship Plan will identify future stewardship activities like shoreline and vegetation rehabilitation, and invasive species control, and compatible uses like hiking trails and picnic shelters.
The newly named NPLA also gave recognition awards to Tom McCarron and Francis Currer, who have both tested the waters of Pigeon Lake for Kawartha Lake Stewards Association for 14 years