Leech Lake, Muskoka

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lake Water Levels

This past weekend (April 21st) the discussion of lake water levels arose once again as a person came down armed to remove some of the beaver damn in the runoff beside our place (right side of lake where the lake discharges through a large culvert, "Black Beard Falls"). It appears that he hasn't been the first even though I am told the ice has only recently gone out!

The issue of water levels is an emotional one for those who have docks, cottages etc that haven't been designed to allow higher levels versus those who believe the higher levels are better for a number of reasons. Being where we are - we have seen everything from people actually digging out a trench - to others blocking the culverts with plywood.

Our concern on trying to decrease lake levels so early is that if water levels by summer are abnormally low - it could contribute to phosphates levels - then algae growth. Even the remote chance that we could have a blue-green algae bloom similar to that of Three Mile Lake in 2005 (in which no-one could use the Lake water for any purpose) makes us shudder. If the summer is unusually hot or rainfall unusually low - it will influence the temperature & phosphate levels. Unfortunately we won't be able to put the water back in the lake.

We personally question that the water levels are abnormally high for this time of year. Perhaps for June - but we are only in April.

Regardless - no-one knows what the "right" water levels are & personal opinions won't do. No individual has the right to control lake levels - high or low. We need to come to some consensus as a community on when the water levels are too high versus time of year.

I will once again try to set-up a larger meeting with the MNR as soon as possible. We will post the date & location for interested parties.

Take care, Valerie

Monday, April 02, 2007

Light Pollution


When we think of pollution, we automatically think of polluting our lake waters. However, a new form of pollution is gradually creeping into the sky above our lake. That is LIGHT POLLUTION.

What exactly is light pollution? It falls into three categories.
Sky Glow – the aura seen over towns or cities
Glare – light that shines into the eyes making it difficult to see into areas surrounding the light. Here we see the light from the fixture rather that what the fixture was meant to illuminate.
Light Trespass – light that spills from one property to another where it is not wanted, such as yard light. Water reflects glare to trespass on distant properties.

Light pollution is the culprit that is killing the beauty of the night sky. Sky brightness has increased and the stars are going out one by one. Light pollution is an issue that concerns us all and one that everyone can do something about.

Here are a few LIGHT touches that will help us all do our bit to curtail light pollution and conserve energy at the same time.
Use fully shielded light fixtures (Dark Sky Lamps) that direct the light downward to where it is needed so none is wasted by creating a glare.
Make certain that your exterior lights illuminate only the ground beneath them and never shine onto a neighboring property or into the night sky. A neighboring property may be across the lake.
Use exterior lights equipped with motion detectors or a flashlight
Reduce the wattage of bulbs. Too much wattage can reduce night vision.
Turn off your lights when you leave the area.
Use non-intrusive alternatives to boat dock lighting such as solar reflectors or reflector tape.
Put your lights on dimmers and timers
If you still feel the need to have a yard light, aim it away from the water so that the full effect of the light will shine on your cottage and property and not the lake.
Venture across the lake at night to see how your own property lights the night sky

Let’s get back to being in the dark and recapture the beauty of the night sky.

Lake Steward Committee (Jill)