by Mike Thomas, PLCA President
This year is going to be an active year for your PLCA board. I want to tell you about an exciting new project that will be taking place on Paudash Lake this summer! The PLCA, working with the Coalition of Haliburton Property Owners’ Associations (CHA) will be evaluating the natural state of the shorelines around Paudash during July and August.
Shorelines are often referred to as “the ribbon of life,” due to the number of species that depend on them for food and habitat. Did you know that 80- 90 per cent of all life on our lake depends on the shoreline?
In addition to providing wildlife habitat, shorelines play a key role in maintaining good water quality. They do an amazing job of slowing runoff from roads, driveways and buildings, helping filter sediment and contaminants (e.g. from septics) entering the lake and keeping water temperatures cooler in the summer.
Scientific studies have proven that in order to maintain water quality, 75 per cent of the shoreline must be kept in a natural state for a minimum of 100 feet. If there is significantly less than 75 per cent, water quality will seriously degrade over time. This would not only affect wildlife, but it would also affect property values and our social enjoyment of the lake.
With increasing introductions of invasive species into Ontario and a changing climate, it is becoming even more necessary to ensure our lakes are in good shape so they can be more resilient to future changes.
In order to determine the state of the shoreline around Paudash, two Trent University environmental science students who have successfully completed an intensive shoreline assessment course will be assessing the entire shorelines of all of Paudash Lake (upper and lower) in the summer of 2016, by boat.
After the shoreline assessment is complete, each individual landowner will be given a comprehensive report about the state of their shoreline and what they can do to make their shoreline better if they choose to do so. There are no regulatory obligations to make any changes – this is completely voluntary. The CHA is preparing a list of resources (e.g. reference materials, consultants, contractors, nurseries, etc.) that may be of assistance to you.
All shoreline assessments will be done by boat, so students will not have to access any landowner’s property. All information collected will be kept private. The only people who will know the results of the individual shoreline assessments will be the students (who will sign a confidentiality agreement) and that property owner. The PLCA will receive an overall report, which will provide only a broad overview of the results. No names, addresses or details will be published or provided to the PLCA.
Why do this assessment? The benefit is that once the shoreline assessment is complete, the PLCA will know what percentage of the shoreline is natural. This will help us prioritize future projects in order to help maintain water quality, and ensure we all continue to enjoy our lake surroundings. Please note that this project is non regulatory, and the information will not be shared with any government or regulatory agency.
This program has already been completed on a number of lakes in Haliburton County, and 89 lakes are interested and waiting to have their shoreline assessment done! We were chosen early in the program. 2,486 properties have already been surveyed. As a landowner, you don’t need to do anything, and you don’t need to be a member of the PLCA to take part in this important project. All costs are being covered by the PLCA, with the assistance of grant money already obtained.
The shoreline classification project will take place between July and September, 2016. Property assessments will only take place between Monday and Friday.
Would you like to help? We need volunteers!
We need volunteers to billet the students over a period of approximately 30 days (July and August). Landowners can offer to billet students for one week or longer. Students are responsible for their own food, and they will have their own vehicles.
We need volunteer boat drivers (with a valid boat operator’s license and insurance) who are willing to use their boat to take students along the shoreline while they complete the assessments. Boat drivers can volunteer to take a student out for one day or more. High school students will be able to collect volunteer hours for boat driving!
The PLCA has a budget for boat gas, and boat drivers will be reimbursed for their fuel costs. Out of a 5 day work week, the students will spend approximately three days on the water doing the assessments and two days per week on data entry, weather depending. Field assessments cannot be completed in the rain. Please note that the boat drivers will not have access to the information that the students are collecting, or the names and addresses of the property owners.
If you would like to volunteer for billeting or boating, please contact us!