Environment

Proposed New Quarry - across from Flynn's store off County Rd #507

The Municipality of Trent Lakes has received an application from 2329059 Ontario Ltd. to redesignate and rezone lands located in Lot 21, Concession 8 (Harvey) for the purpose of establishing a quarry above the water table.

For more information, see the Trent Lakes website.
July 19\17

 



Peterborough County is updating the Waste Management Master Plan.

Preparatory data is being collected in this survey. Average time to complete is 6 minutes.

Waste Management in Peterborough County is guided by the Waste Management Master Plan. The plan was completed in 2013 and will be updated in 2018. Data will be gathered from 2017 into 2018.

Peterborough County's current Waste Management Master Plan is available on their website in full or as an executive summary.
July 26\17

2017 Ontario Recreational Lakes and Algae Survey

This survey seeks your opinion on the health of Ontario’s recreational lakes, with a particular focus on algae and recreational enjoyment. Your perspectives will help government and other management agencies evaluate key issues relevant to improving or maintaining the quality of Ontario’s recreational lakes.

Please complete the survey by November 1, 2017.
July 24\17

Nature - Our Best Defense Against Flooding

THINK twice before you harden your shoreline or change a wetland. You could affect our ability to combat flooding.

Read the full article on the David Suzuki website.

Excerpts from the article:

Floods have become one of the most visible signs of the effects of climate change in cities, towns and rural areas throughout Canada.

Spring floods aren’t unusual, but the intensity and frequency of recent rains are breaking records.

Deforestation, wetland destruction and artificial shoreline projects worsen the problem.
July 19\17

Trent Lakes Fire By-Law

Pursuant to By-Law B2017-053, flying lanterns are prohibited in Trent Lakes and fireworks are prohibited during a Burn Ban. Contact 1-705-738-3800 ext 301 for burn ban information. May 31\17

May 31\17

Peterborough County Environment Days

You can drop off hard plastic all summer.

Click on the image below to see the full size image


June 26\17

Green Cleaning Recipes

We're including a homemade spray cleaner in our welcome packages.

Try our recipe and adjust the essential oil to suit you.

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp liquid castile soap
  • 10 drops essential oil
  • Note: Tea Tree and Thyme essential oils fight germs.

For more homemade cleaning recipes, see the Queen of Green article on the David Suzuki website.
May 31\17

Green Personal Care Recipes

Liquid castile soap can be used on its own or as a base for home cleaning and personal care as well. Try it as a laundry liquid, shampoo, shower gel or bubble bath. It's great for shampooing your dog too. You can even mix it with water to spray aphids, but be sure to rinse your plant leaves within a couple of hours.

For deodorant, use a simple two step process with coconut oil and cornstarch or arrowroot powder or try this Queen of Green recipe for deodorant.

Caution: when melting beeswax for a personal care recipe, never microwave or use direct heat. Use a double boiler or fashion one out of a steamer. Beeswax does not boil when it gets hot, it catches fire!

For toothpaste, melt coconut oil and mix in baking soda or try this Queen of Green recipe with a couple additional ingredients to make your own toothpaste. May 31\17

Recycling instead of Burning

We're using less and less paper. We read books and articles on-line, store information electronically, keep notes on our phones and tablets. Companies who use recycled paper for their products such as paper towels and toilet paper are having difficulty getting enough recycled paper. The solution? RECYCLE your paper and cardboard. DON'T burn it and don't throw it in the garbage. July 19\17

Trent Lakes Waste Disposal By-law

You cannot have any blue box recycling items in your garbage bag and you cannot have more than twenty (20%) percent of material covered under the diversion programs offered at the site.

That means you cannot have more than 20% food waste in your garbage if you go to the Buckhorn site. You are encouraged to use a backyard composter or bring your food waste separately and dispose of it in the organics program bin. You can empty a grocery bag or you can use cellulose lined paper bags available from Buckhorn Home Hardware.

Read the Trent Lakes Waste Disposal By-law here.

From the waste disposal by-law:
14. Each Clear Bag of waste shall not contain more than twenty (20%) percent of recyclable material (zero blue box material - see Schedule "M"). Bags of waste that visibly contain more than twenty (20%) percent recyclable material (diversion programs offered at the site other than blue box) may not be disposed of and must be removed from the site.

See our articles below for materials included in the diversion program at the Buckhorn site, tips on reducing waste and what goes in a backyard composter and the organics program. January 23\16

Trent Lakes Clear Bag Policy

Effective January 1, 2017, the Trent Lakes Clear Bag Policy comes into effect. You will need to have clear bags or no bags within your large clear garbage bag. Buckhorn Home Hardware already has clear bags available in various sizes and have generously donated clear bags for our new welcome baskets.

Read the Trent Lakes Clear Bag Policy Mail-out Sheet here. November 20\16

Trent Lakes Waste Management Plan

Read the Trent Lakes Waste Management Plan, dated December 2015 here. January 16\16

Read the Trent Lakes Waste Management Plan, Frequently Asked Questions here. June 5\16

Here's just a few of things you can bring to the Buckhorn Transfer Station:

  • compostable organics
  • leaf, yard waste and brush
  • household hazardous waste (seasonal)
  • hard plastic (seasonal)
  • household batteries and rechargeable batteries
  • waste electronics and electrical equipment
  • scrap metal
  • alcoholic beverage containers
  • textiles
  • items for reuse (seasonal)
  • May 24\16

Styrofoam Recycling

Clean styrofoam packing (not peanuts or food trays) can be taken to the Pido Road depot in Peterborough for recycling all year round.
May 24\17

How You Can Divert Waste

According to a 2014 Peterborough County waste audit, 21% of the waste in the landfill could have gone into a backyard composter and 20% of the waste could have gone into the green bin waste.

You can do your part in diverting waste. Use a Composter and/or the Green Waste Program.

Read what goes into a backyard composter here.

Read what goes into the organics program at the Buckhorn Land Transfer Station here.

Here's some tips to reduce waste:

  • buy items with less packaging
  • don't use plastic water bottles
  • use e-statements and/or on-line banking
  • recycle items such as deodorant containers, aerosol cans, frozen food bags marked as #7
  • September 5\16

Toxins in Old Materials

After reading this article, we recommend putting your dryer lint into the garbage, not the organics (green waste) program. Make sure your vacuum cleaner bags go into the garbage as well.

Article from the David Suzuki website - Queen of Green.

Excerpt: Chemicals are tracked in from outside, but most originate from the wear-and-tear of consumer products. You'll also find higher levels in dryer lint and in the vacuum cleaner bag. Note: don't compost dryer lint if you spread it on garden veggie beds.
September 5\16

I'm afraid to Compost!

Are you afraid to compost?

Composters can attract everything from flies to racoons and even bears. Reduce the smell and you'll reduce the pests.

Here's a few tips to keep critters out of your composter.

  • don't put in any table scraps, meat, fat or bones
  • turn your compost every couple of weeks
  • surround food waste with grass and leaves
  • balance brown (leaves and newspaper) and green waste (food and grass)
  • use newspaper to line your kitchen compost holder - it makes good brown waste and keeps your container clean

Other ways to deter bears from your property:

  • put away your bird feeders from April to November
  • keep your bbq grills clean and empty your grease holder often
  • instruct your visitors and renters on proper garbage disposal at your cottage
  • secure your garbage in your garage and take it to the land transfer station regularly

P.S. Your garbage won't smell if you're using a composter and the green waste program.
August 26\15

Weedkiller Alternative

This non-toxic alternative can be used on weeds and grass in your driveway.

Mix:

  • 1 tsp. of dishwashing liquid
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 cup of vinegar

Stir and pour on the weeds. The exposed part of the weeds will dry up within a couple of hours. It works best in a sunny location. You may still need to pull or rake the weeds to remove them.

Try weeding after a heavy rain when the ground is softer. You won't need to apply anything.

Roundup, a popular herbicide containing the active ingredient glyphosate, is applied directly to weeds by spraying it on the plant tissue. In most cases it will need to be applied more than once, since it only kills what is above the ground upon first application.

Roundup is less toxic to humans and other mammals than some previous herbicides, but it contains a detergent, polyoxyethylene amine (POEA), which is used to disperse the glyphosate. POEA can kill human embryonic cells and has a lethal effect on frogs and their tadpoles.

One of the reasons Roundup appeared safe early on was its quick breakdown in the environment. Although it dissipates quickly above ground, Roundup persists in soils for 250 to 350 days.

Read the full article on the effects of Roundup. Articles on herbicide use are plentiful on the internet. Please do your own research before using toxic substances. August 26\15

Commercial Cleaning Products

Commercial cleaning products contain a laundry list of worrisome chemicals:

  • Triclosan: an antibacterial agent that harms the immune system and pollutes waterways
  • Pthalates: compounds which reduce sperm counts and disrupt hormones
  • Perchloroethylene: a known neurotoxin and possible carcinogen
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds: these are suspected to contribute to respiratory disorders and skin irritation
  • 2-Butoxyethanol: a chemical which gives cleaners their sweet smell, but contributes to organ damage
  • Ammonia: it doesn’t leave streaks on windows, but it can leave you with chronic bronchitis or asthma

So what’s the safe alternative? Try making your own cleaning solutions with ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, castile soap, baking soda and essential oils. You’ll be surprised how many of the toxic products in your cupboard can be swapped out with simple, nontoxic replacements that are cheap and easy to make!

Read more info here.January 16\16

Dirty Dozen Cosmetic Chemicals

From the David Suzuki website.

Read the ingredients in your personal care products to determine if the following chemicals are used. See the website above for more information.

  1. BHA and BHT
    preservative - suspected endocrine disruptor
  2. Coal tar dyes
    p-phenylenediamine and colours - hair dyes
  3. DEA-related ingredients
    used in creamy and foaming products
  4. Dibutyl phthalate
    used as a plasticizer in some nail care products
  5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
    in a variety of cosmetics
  6. Parabens
    in cosmetics as a preservatives
  7. Parfum
    in cosmetics — even in some products marketed as unscented
  8. PEG compounds
    in cosmetic creams - can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer, also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters "eth"
  9. Petrolatum
    in hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers
  10. Siloxanes
    ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone" - in cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten
  11. Sodium laureth sulfate
    in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath - can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane
  12. Triclosan
    in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants
  13. January 4\17

Invasive Plant Species



Check before you plant

For a plant to be classified as invasive it must be a non-native with a tendency to spread, threaten the environment, social or economic health of the area. The problem is simple to understand; as there are no natural diseases or pests to control them, like native plants, they can spread uncontrollably and crowd out our native plants. There are over 400 species of invasive plants in Ontario.

Last year’s brilliant and well meaning campaign by Cheerios to “bring back the bees” resulted in 400 million seeds being sent out across Canada and 1.5 billion were sent out in total across North American included forget-me-nots. Forget-me-nots are native to Africa and were introduced to gardens because of their beauty, and because they have no natural checks and balances they can quickly escape their boundaries.

Many invasive plants are beautiful and some have even been sold innocently by garden centres, such as periwinkle and ornamental grasses. An ornamental grass can be controlled in a city but when people bring them to the cottage and let them grow uncontrollably we create a situation that can disrupt our healthy biodiversity. Phragmites is an invasive perennial grass that originated in Eurasia and is quickly becoming Ontario’s worst invasive plant. Phragmites release toxins from their roots that obstruct the growth of other native plants as they outcompete them for sunlight, water and nutrients. They will kill off the natural bulrushes and cattails. With their dense clusters there is no wildlife that will live within it; no nests or wildlife activity, just quiet.

To learn more about Phragmites and how to identify it go to: https://dr6j45jk9xcmk.cloudfront.net/documents/2675/stdprod-089643.pdf.

If you think you have seen an invasive species please report it to: Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711 or by email: info@invadingspecies.com

You can check out what to grow instead here: http://www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca.php56-30.ord1-1.websitetestlink.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/NorthernGMI_2014_FINAL.compressed.pdf.
October 16\17

Garbage Dumping

Three garbage bags, consisting of mostly beer cans, were dumped on Philrick Drive just north of the 4-corners right after July 1st celebrations. Thank you to the families who picked up the garbage. There may have been other instances on the lake as well.

If you find garbage on the road, please take a photo and email the photo to the Trent Lakes Municipal office or give them a call. They will send someone to pick up the garbage or you may take the unsorted garbage to the transfer station with prior approval.

Here is the contact page on the Trent Lakes website.

If you lend or rent your cottage, please ensure that occupants understand how to properly dispose of garbage. If you don't make arrangements for them, don't assume they'll take the garbage home.

You can purchase a Cottage Kit at the transfer station. It includes a single pass and disposal bags. Click on the image below for more information.


July 24\17

Plastic Straws Suck

80 to 90% of marine debris is plastic, and as much as 80% of that came from plastics discarded on land.

Refuse a straw next time you're in a restaurant. If you're a restaurant owner, consider only offering straws on request or stop offering them altogether.

Read the complete article on the David Suzuki website. July 24\17

Kawartha Conservation Native Plant Distribution Program & Site Visits

Kawartha Conservation is pleased to announce that the 2017 Native Plant Distribution Program Order Form is now available at KawarthaConservation.com/NativePlants. This program offers landowners a selection of beautiful, low-cost native plants for enhancing their property.

Property owners who participate in the program will receive $50 off their native plant order for use in shoreline naturalization and erosion control projects. To access this opportunity, contact the Blue Canoe team (705-328-2271, ext. 238) to set up a site visit where they will assist in developing a personalized project plan for your shoreline. July 12\17

Demonstration Site Plants

This is a list of the native plants that were used for our demonstration site:

  • Sweet gale
  • Boneset
  • White Turtlehead
  • Potentilla yellow
  • Potentilla white
  • Woodland sunflower
  • Smooth Rose (aka wild rose)
  • Beebalm (aka red bergamot)
  • Joe pyeweed
  • Blue lobelia
  • July 12\17

Our top perennial picks for your shoreline are: Swamp Milkweed, Blue Flag Iris, Blue Lobelia and Joe Pye Weed. Great shrubs are Red Osier Dogwood, Willow and Sweetgale.

See Native Plant Nursery Catalogues on our Links page and find your new favourite. Note: these nurseries are wholesalers, so consider grouping your order with a neighbour's and be sure to call ahead.

Why native plants? Native plants provide food for birds, bees and other pollinators. May 31\17

Got Hayfever?

Here's the culprit!

Ragweed (not goldenrod) is responsible for hayfever which lasts from mid-August until the first frost. Ragweed is a self-seeding annual, which means that mowing your grass will keep ragweed from growing and spreading. If you have areas of wildflowers or long grass, just pull it out by the roots before it goes to seed. July 19\17

Poison Ivy

Identify it. Avoid it.

Poison Ivy may be difficult to identify. It spreads by runners. It can be very small or tall and bushy depending on how established it has become. Leaves are reddish to green when starting to show in May, but will turn solid green. The leaves turn red when it dies off in the fall. Leaves can be shiny or dull, droopy or upright. There are always three leaves, two opposite each other with a third lower leaf.

It is a native plant. If it is on your property and it is difficult to avoid, you can spray it with a weedkiller, but it will grow back. The pesticide ban in Ontario does allow you to spray poison ivy, but is not allowed for cosmetic use, i.e., grass or dandelions in your driveway.

If you are able pull out poison ivy, dispose of it in the garbage. Do not burn or compost. If you are allergic, you can react to debris in an area where poison ivy once was.

For details click here.

Need relief? See Jewelweed below. May 21\17

Jewelweed

The Cure!

The stem juice of Jewelweed relieves itching from poison ivy. For details click here. May 21\17

Garlic Mustard

Identify it. Pull it. Eat it!

Garlic Mustard is a highly invasive non-native plant. A dense square metre stand can produce 60,000 seeds and will crowd out native plants such as trilliums. The best time to pull it is now while the ground is moist and before the flowers go to seed. Be careful not to spread the seeds with your footwear. Do not compost the plant.

Not sure if it's Garlic Mustard? Crush a leaf, you should be able to smell garlic.

Wildlife will not eat Garlic Mustard, but you can! Use it in salads, saute it with other greens, eat the undeveloped flowers and leaves like Rapini or make it into a pesto.

Please let us know if you find an area on our lake where Garlic Mustard is growing.

Read about Garlic Mustard on the Ontario Invading Species website. May 16\17

Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variety of life. We cannot survive independently of each other. We need to have diverse plants and animals.

In an effort to increase biodiversity and improve our water quality, we are educating our lake residents about the importance of natural shorelines. We'll be planting a demonstration site on the lake. Also, we are distributing native plant starter kits.

By planting a variety of native plants along your shore, you'll:

  • attract pollinators
  • support the food web
  • provide a buffer against species loss
  • deter geese from your property
  • prevent toxins from entering into the lake
  • reduce pests
  • eliminate the need for fertilizers
  • reduce erosion
  • April 5\17

Illegal Fishing

Charges have been laid against non-lake-residents by the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry for illegal fishing.

Fishing was being done on our lake at night with lights being shone on the water to attract fish.

If you see any natural resource violations, you can place a call 24 X 7 to the MNRF-TIPS line at 877-847-7667. November 23\16

Floating Weeds



Acquatic weeds are full of phosphorus and nitrogen, so be sure to remove any floating weeds from your shoreline.

Please note: The article below does not refer to our lake, but similar to these other lakes, we have been experiencing increased weed growth. Our lake is considered low phosphorus. However, we can still do our part in keeping phosphorus levels low.

Excerpt from the Trent Lakes website:

On August 9th and 10th 2016, Trent Severn Waterway staff conducted an investigation by boat into the reports of excessive aquatic weeds on Upper and Lower Buckhorn, Pigeon, Chemong and Balsam Lakes.

The primary weed species was found to be Eelgrass (Vallisneria) also known as Water Celery (or Tape-grass).

The most problematic contributing factor is the increasing phosphorus levels of our area lakes which are a nutrient to aquatic weed growth.

Heat, wind and boat traffic contributed to dislodging of these shallow rooting weeds.

Harvesting is often a short term solution providing relief usually for one season.

For Trent Lakes shoreline property owners/residents raking the weeds from their shorelines, the weed piles can be disposed of for free at any Trent Lakes Waste Transfer Stations in our municipality as yard waste.

Boaters can help to reduce phosphorus and weed nutrient levels in waterbodies by not dumping black or grey waters near or into waterbodies and using only non-phosphorus cleaning materials to wash boats near or on waterbodies. Reducing excessive speeds on the water also helps to reduce turbidity.

If you wish to remove aquatic plants from your property you will require a permit from Parks Canada. This permit is valid for one (1) year and may be obtained by contacting the Trent-Severn Waterway Peterborough Office at 705-750-4900, Toll-free at 1-888-773-8888 or email: Ont.Trentsevern@pc.gc.ca

See the full article on the Trent Lakes website.
August 26\16

Acquatic Weeds as Fertilizer

If you don't want to haul your acquatic weeds to the dump, try mixing them with dry leaves to make a great natural fertilizer for your gardens. Just make sure you have a natural shoreline to ensure those nutrients don't get washed back into the lake.

The following is an excerpt from our Spring 2015 Newsletter.

Harvesting Lake Nutrients: Musings of a Lakeside Gardener

For many years, KLSA Board member, Mike Dolbey, has gathered the aquatic weeds that drifted to his cottage shoreline and mixed them with dry leaves to create fertilizer for his garden. In 2012, he decided to measure the amount of phosphorus he was removing from the lake. Aquatic plants were prolific in 2012 and Mike collected approximately 225 cubic feet of weeds from the lake, about three times more than usual. In addition to phosphorus, the weeds are high in nitrogen and when they are layered with carbon-rich dry leaves, produce excellent and free garden fertilizer.

From: Kawartha Lake Stewards Association: What's Next?: 2012 Lake Water Quality Report.
August 26\16

Aquactic Weed Removal

Weed cutting on the Trent Severn Waterway requires a permit. Cuttings must be collected and disposed of on land to prevent them from taking root elsewhere. Maximum width of harvesting area is 50% of the water frontage, up to a maximum of 10 metres; the area may extend up to 30 metres out into the water body. Emergent vegetation, rocks and logs must not be disturbed. A permit for harvesting aquatic vegetation will not be approved in areas of emergent wetland vegetation, or where Species at Risk or their habitat may be negatively impacted. For more information, read the KLSA 2009 Aquatic Plant Guide. July 28\16

A suspected case of blue-green algae was reported by a concerned resident along the shore of the lower portion of Philrick Drive. The MOECC has reported that testing showed no sign of blue-green algae, furthermore no blue-green algae has been found in the Kawarthas this summer.

2017 E.coli Test Results

Click on the image below to see the 2017 E.coli Test Results as of September 11th. We had a high reading on September 5th. Retesting on September 11th showed normal results.

September 27\17

2017 Water Quality Report

Click on the image below to see our 2017 Water Quality Report, dated May 6/17.


May 14\17

2017 Water Testing

Thank you to David Stanyar for doing the Phosphorus and Secchi Depth testing and to Rich Corbin for doing E.coli testing again this year.

Phosphorus and Secchi Depth testing starts in May and will be done 6 times between May and September.

E.coli will be tested on July 3, 17, 24, 31, Aug 14, Sept 4.

We will be posting results here and on our Facebook page. May 6\17

2017 E.coli Testing Sites

Click on the map below to see the sites that are being tested in 2017.

May 6\17

2016 Phosphorus and Secchi Depth Results for Big Bald Lake

Phosphorus Results

We receive phosphorus testing results each spring for the previous year through the Lake Partner Program. You can review the 2016 results and see how other lakes did by going to the Lake Partner Program website.

Phosphorus is tested mid-lake. It was tested in another location for a few years, which may account for the increase from 2015 to 2016 or it may be due to the hot dry summer in 2016.


Click on the image below to see the full phosphorus testing history from the Lake Partner Program site. April 8\17

Secchi Depth Results

Click on the image below to see the Secchi depth history.
April 8\17

How we can reduce E.coli

The following is an excerpt from an article in the KLSA Lake Water Quality 2015 Report, Protecting the Natural Beauty Around Us.

We can help keep our lakes cleaner by:

  • discouraging large populations of waterfowl by keeping our shorelines well vegetated. (Clear sightlines from the water to lush green grass are very inviting to geese!)
  • reducing erosion, e.g., interrupt the flow of water off the land with plants and curving paths
  • minimizing lake sediment disturbance, e.g., keep your boat’s power down until you are in deeper water.

... and from our Water Quality Testing Report

Tips on Protecting our Lake and Yourself

  • Don't feed geese and other waterfowl.
  • Naturalize shorelines.
  • Don't swim after a heavy rain.
  • Clean up and properly dispose of any animal waste from geese and dogs.
  • Don't overload your septic - spread out your laundry loads.
  • Have your septic tank pumped out every three years.
  • June 5\16

Don't Feed the Geese

The following article is from the KLSA Lake Water Quality 2001 Report, Don't Feed the Geese.

What to Do about the Geese?

  • Do not feed geese and other waterfowl. That encourages them to gather around swimming docks and cottages and to keep coming back for more.
  • Naturalize shorelines. An expanse of lawn running down to the shore is an invitation to geese to step right up and congregate on your property, eating bugs in your lawn, and even flocking there overnight. When it rains, the excrement will run right into the water off your shore. If you have a lawn, create a buffer zone of at least a meter wide, by planting native shrubs and other plants at the shoreline. If your shoreline is natural, let it be.
  • Trick geese into staying away from your property. Geese are afraid of snakes, especially when their chicks are young. Some resort owners have placed large, black, rubber snakes on docks with success. Our K.L.S.A. volunteer in North Pigeon Lake, the late Gus McIntosh, made a plywood cutout of a wolf, painted it a dark colour, and placed it at the edge of a site where he’d found high readings and had observed geese. He reported that the wolf kept the geese away for about six weeks. Geese don’t like shiny, rapidly moving objects like pinwheels or strips of foil waving in the wind. Place some at your shoreline or on docks and swimming rafts if you have a problem with geese. Since geese can learn, it may be necessary to use two or three of these anti-geese devices in succession to keep the geese away all summer.
    February 25\16

Blue-green Algae

Excerpts from:
2016 FOCA Lake Stewards Newsletter and
Peterborough Public Health - Blue-green Algae

What are blue-green algae?

Blue-green algae are not really algae, and they aren’t even always blue-green. They are actually a type of bacteria called “Cyanobacteria” that get their energy through photosynthesis, like plants do. Cyanobacteria are known for rapidly reproducing and collecting to form large, highly visible blooms that can appear throughout the water, on the surface of water as a scum, or on the lake bottom as a mat. Some species of cyanobacteria can release toxins into the water when the cells that make up the bloom rupture or die. Some species do not; blooms contain a mix of species, but it is estimated that up to half of cyanobacterial blooms are non-toxic.

Factors affecting blooms

Within lakes, cyanobacteria can occur naturally in low numbers, but under certain conditions their numbers can increase dramatically, leading to blooms. A wide variety of factors are linked to the formation of blooms, but the most significant ones are increased nutrient input to lakes, and a number of specific meteorological conditions such as high water temperature, low rainfall/precipitation and reduced wind speeds.

Consequently, blooms typically develop in shallow, sheltered bays and during the summer or fall when these meteorological conditions are most likely to occur.

How you can help

Management of nutrient inputs into lakes remains a crucial step in controlling the occurrence and frequency of algal blooms. Your personal actions in support of this effort could range from using phosphate-free products, to naturalizing your shoreline which helps reduce erosion and phosphorus loading. Reducing phosphorus loading will serve to reduce one of the major predisposing conditions necessary for bloom occurrence.

What should I do if I think I have spotted a blue-green algae bloom?

If you see an algae bloom that you think may be blue-green algae, report it to the MInistry of the Environment (MOE) by calling 1-800-268-6060. If it is the first blue-green algae bloom of the season on that lake or in that area, the MInistry will take a sample of the algae and identify whether it contains cyanobacteria. They will also test the toxin level from a dense area of the bloom, but will not return to confirm that the bloom or the toxin levels have dissipated. Subsequent blooms will not be individually identified.
September 5\16