The increase in cases of harmful blue-green algae has led the Three Mile Lake Association to call for more research to understand and care for one of the region’s most valuable assets — the watershed.
HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
In the last community and planning services committee meeting held Wednesday, Oct. 18, the Three Mile Lake Association presented some recommendations to support research on the Muskoka watershed and to protect it from harmful blue-green algae.
Three Mile Lake Association representative John Roberts explained the lake has had a “long and documented history” dealing with blue-green algae dating back to 2005 and recent events have set off alarm bells for the association.
“Each year since then (2005), we’ve had at least one algae bloom and already have two documented blooms this year,” said Roberts.
“A couple of weeks ago, we had a very unusual one we had never seen before. Rather than being a blue-green algae on the film, it was a blue algae. That was a bit distressing for us.”
Roberts added the association had collected samples and is looking into the cause of this issue.
After highlighting the problems Three Mile Lake is having with harmful algae, Roberts proposed recommendations to the council.
WHAT ARE THESE RECOMMENDATIONS ABOUT?
The Three Mile Lake Association recommended four steps to follow after the district released causation studies reports on different lakes.
Recommendation 1: Revise the criteria for initiating causation studies or redirect the resources to a longer-term study of Three Mile Lake.
Recommendation 2: Include high-frequency, continuous temperature and dissolved oxygen monitoring at multiple depths, particularly in lakes with frequently recurring harmful algal blooms (HAB).
Recommendation 3: Invest in improved meteorological data collection at study lakes to inform HAB investigations better.
Recommendation 4: Develop a watershed-wide, citizen science-based bloom watch program to collect and archive detailed data on cyanobacteria blooms.
WHAT DID COUNCIL SAY?
Mayor Nancy Alcock was the first to recognize the importance of the presentation and the recommendations.
“Your presentation was incredibly timely because we are taking the following steps for our policy review on the causation study program,” said Alcock.
The council discussed purchasing a weather station to fulfil the third recommendation and collect data needed for research.
Coun. Don Smith said more efforts should be made besides collecting data.
“It’s great to get the information. But it’s not just collecting data, but what we’re going to do with it — the relevance of what we’re collecting,” said Smith.
Leonard Lake Stakeholder Association and Muskoka Watershed Council also presented on the same day, highlighting the importance of the research to care for the watershed.
Julian Orlando Chavesis a Local Journalism Initiative reporter with the Huntsville Forester. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
By Julian Orlando Chaves, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Oct 24, 2023 at 14:04