Water Quality Monitoring

The Program:

George Brown Sampling on North Pigeon Lake.

In 2017, NPLA members Line Pinard and George Brown, with help from Kent Crawford, took over the sampling program on North Pigeon Lake from Francis Currer and Tom McCarron. Francis and Tom conducted the sampling on behalf of NPLA for 15 years! Thank you Francis & Tom!

In 2020, Brenda Wall and Kathy Price volunteered to sample E. coli in Bass Lake, which is in the North Pigeon Lake watershed and drains into Pigeon Lake via Nogies Creek.

KLSA E. coli sampling

NPLA partners with the Kawartha Lake Stewards Association to monitor the water quality of Pigeon Lake and Bass Lake. We test surface waters for E. coli bacteria levels. Testing for E. coli is primarily to inform us about the safety of the water for swimming.

NPLA samples five locations in North Pigeon Lake (additional locations in Pigeon Lake are sampled by other associations) from late May to early October:

Line Pinard sampling on North Pigeon Lake.

  • Riverside (1A) (until 2019)
  • Pigeon Hollow (5A)
  • Bell Haven (6)
  • Pigeon Lake Resort – Marina (8)
  • Mouth of Channel (13)
  • Watergarden Park (14) (starting in 2020)

Samples are transported to the SGS Canada laboratory, in Lakefield, for analysis.

NPLA also supports sampling of E. coli on Nogies Creek, which is part of broader water chemistry sampling initiated by local residents.

LPP Phosphorus sampling

NPLA tracks water quality over time by sampling two locations in North Pigeon Lake for total phosphorus, calcium, and water clarity as part of the Ontario Lake Partner Program. (LPP)

  • 400m N of Big (Boyd/Chiminis) Is. (12)
  • 300m N of Bottom Is. (16)

These data can tell us about the health of our lake from year to year and monitor long term trends. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks coordinates this program from the Dorset Environmental Science Centre (DESC) (where samples are sent for analysis) in partnership with the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations.

North Pigeon Lake Sampling Locations

Community Science Projects

In 2020, NPLA also got involved in a Community Science Nearshore Water Quality Study coordinated out of Dr. Andrea Kirkwood’s lab at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in partnership with Kawartha Conservation. You can see an overview of this project from PhD candidate Erin Smith here.

In 2021, some members of the Board of Directors are testing a new tool to monitor Phosphate and Nitrate levels in Pigeon Lake and elsewhere. The Nutrient App has been developed by the Global Water Futures group and provides the general public with a cheap and effective way to monitor water quality.


The Kawartha Lake Stewards summarize findings from across the Kawartha Lakes for both programs in the KLSA Annual Reports which are posted on their website.

You can also find annual total phosphorus, calcium and water clarity results either via the Lake Partner Program Map, or via Ontario’s Open Data Catalogue.

Follow the links below for recent North Pigeon Lake and Bass Lake E. coli results, Community Science Nearshore Study results, and Nogies Creek water quality results:

Pigeon Lake:
Photo of Francis pulling up a water sampling bottle, while Tom looks on.

Francis Currer and Tom McCarron conducting water quality sampling on north Pigeon Lake, May 2016. Francis and Tom volunteered their time for 15 years.

2024 Pigeon Lake E. coli Test Results

2023 Pigeon Lake E. coli Test Results

2022 Pigeon Lake E. coli Test Results

2021 Pigeon Lake E. coli Test Results

2020 Pigeon Lake E. coli Test Results

2019 Pigeon Lake E. coli Test Results

2018 Pigeon Lake E. coli Test Results

2017 Pigeon Lake E. coli Test Results

Pandemic Community Science Nearshore Study:

2020 Pigeon Lake Nearshore Results

Bass Lake:

2024 Bass Lake E. coli Test Results

2023 Bass Lake E. coli Test Results

2022 Bass Lake E. coli Test Results

2021 Bass Lake E. coli Test Results

2020 Bass Lake E. coli Test Results

Nogies Creek:

Nogies Creek Water Quality Test Results