Lake Health Master Plan
The Lake Health Master Plan project with CRE rejected!
What had happened following the important step of the submission of a quotation by the CRE to the Committee of volunteers delegated by the Lake St. François-Xavier Environmental Fund to define and set-up the project? At the meeting of the Municipal Council of April 10th, the Mayor told us what had been the fate of this project. He then blamed the Fund to have as well rejected this project and the one presented by the Municipality in connection with the rehabilitation of the dam of the Lake, we understand.
Here is, as a working hypothesis, the scenario that seems to us be explaining this result. The main blame would perhaps come from the novelty of such project in the Municipality and from the complexity of the steps, as well as of the sharing of responsibilities to give it birth.
Between the presentation of the idea of the project by the undersigned to the Fund in March 2016, and the transmission to the Committee of a first quotation by the CRE, almost a year had passed. The Committee of volunteers was formed in July. Later and at the request of the Committee to the Executive of the Lake Saint-François-Xavier Association to sponsor the project, the chief of the Lake Health portfolio of the Association joined the Committee. The Mayor had also been approached earlier and had seemed open to the idea.
Despite an initial commitment to increase the representativeness of the Committee of volunteers and to involve the entire Community in the development of the project, this has not materialized. In addition, the option to carefully build-up the project before presenting it to the Fund, to the other partners and eventually to the Community prevailed on the original commitment, being one of the reasons that led the undersigned to leave the Committee.
It would eventually be in the name of the Municipality, interested in the project from the outset and necessarily being a major partner, that the grant application for it would have landed on the table of the Fund, at the last minute; while the deadline of February 15 for registering to the program of the CRE had to be exceeded.
In front of an application for a financial support of around $ 25,000, while the members of the Fund’s Board had noticed that municipalities were financially involved for the whole of the amount required in most similar projects of the CRE, the refusal already seemed partly justified. But should we not consider the comparative municipalities’ wealth and what they get from their investment for a lake in particular in this kind of calculation?
Moreover, the Fund, which considered not having been adequately informed in advance of the conduct of the work of the Committee and of the nature of the project with the CRE, did not see it live up to the expectations raised-up at the start.
A major point is that the project with the CRE is only one version of what may be a lake health master plan. While, in good faith, some people thought we were going, with the CRE or with other resources, use any of the Information, the data and research accumulated over the decades by the Lake association and the Municipality to produce a major work, using each of these inputs like so many stones in the construction of a building, the Blue Laurentides’ proposal seemed to offer only a pasted copy version of a model used for most of its Lake health master plans. But, was it not utopian to imagine that we could get a major work, with technical support on the ground through all summer season, for less than $ 25 000?
When we look at a coaching project, matching with a Lake health master plan, from Bleu Laurentides, should we not rather see what made the success of the approach of the RSVL (VLMP), for example, a protocol that analyzes and classifies data according to criteria recognized by the competent authorities, which allows the comparison with the situation on other lakes and dictates the definition of standards?
The support provided by the CRE, as well as the final recommendations, also includes liaison and sharing of responsibilities between the partners involved in the project, which is not necessarily an easy task around Lake St. François-Xavier... The Lake Association and the Municipality of Wentworth - Nord officially agreeing to collaborate on the same project; you have seen that often lately?
Shouldn’t the additional technical analyses intake provided by the CRE, with the participation of ABRINORD and other public bodies, and which part is paid for by the Government, be also considered as being worth the investment? Why Sainte-Anne-des-Lakes did ordered Bleu Laurentides’ Lake health master plans for its major lakes and has been fully satisfied with their professional quality? And lately, Sainte-Adèle and Saint-Sauveur? Twenty - four municipalities and lake organizations, for more than two dozen plans and support on the ground in ten years only by the small team of the CRE!
What is the alternative to this CRE’s Lake master plan for Lake St. Francois-Xavier and doesn’t the Fund badly need it for its own interventions? Is the Committee of volunteers still living? Can the Fund come back on its first perception and let us consider a second chance for 2018? Will another lake association of Wentworth-Nord take advantage of the program we have failed to use and get the Municipality’s material assistance, premises, and the attention of the staff for producing its own lake health master plan? Is the project only postponed? We will then at least take advantage of our mistakes and certainly not fall back into the same ruts.
A lake Health master plan?
On the agenda of the Municipal meeting of February 13, the point 5.7 gets our attention; there is mention of an accompanying programme of the CRE-Laurentides at Lake St. Francois-Xavier. Indeed, some members of the Lake association have been working for some time at a «Lake Master Plan» project to be ordered to the CRE. Such an order must be part of the CRE’s Bleu Laurentides project that includes a component of accompaniment of the actors on the ground. The Municipality has to be involved in such project and the motion adopted on February 13 pushes one step further its eventual realisation.
. It was following the presentation of a sketch of the project to the Lake St-François-Xavier’s Environmental Fund in March 2016, by the undersigned, that its gestation begun. Now that the project was made public by this point of the agenda of the Municipal meeting, it is more than time to get the community involved.
The gestation of the project
The idea of establishing a comprehensive health assessment of the Lake has certainly trotted into the head of several actors during the decades of the existence of a Lake association at Montfort-Newaygo. Today, the accumulation of data and the application of protocols from the VLMP (RSVL) make more plausible the development of such health assessment. In addition, the establishment of the Lake St. Francois-Xavier's Environmental Fund, which has moneys dedicated specifically to the protection of the Lake, could now provide the sinews of war necessary for this kind of business.
This status of health assessment, the «Conseil régional de l'environnement des Laurentides (CRE-Laurentides)» names it "Lake Master Plan", and it has already compiled more than two dozen of those in the area it serves. It would, according to Mrs. Mélissa Laniel, guide future action and permit to evaluate the relevance, for example, to tackle the study of a specific problem. The CRE uses its program of «Soutien technique des lacs», from «Bleu Laurentides», to carry out these plans. Privileged partners for such an exercise and for commissioning a project to the CRE are usually the Municipality and the Lake association. Requests must be completed by February 15 of the year where it has to be developed.
The relevance of the project of a CRE’s Lake Master Plan
- To assemble in a published document knowledge gathered through the years by all actors, with hopefully added interrelations, conclusions and a list of priority actions to be undertaken to restore and protect the Lake.
- To get additional expertise and tools of analysis through the exercise.
- To obtain through CRE an orchestrated participation from the various partners.
- To rekindle interest of all focussing on the Lake state monitoring and protection.
- To obtain a detailed and a global view of the Lake state that can be easily compared with the ones of other lakes of the Laurentians while learning from the comparison.
- To be able to put forward validated arguments to support request to authorities for any specific action.
The content of such plan, according to Lake Ouimet’s one (Ste. Anne-des-Lacs)
Lake Ouimet offers certain physical, historical, and other similarities with Lake St. Francois-Xavier. There are three sections in its Lake Health Master Plan developed under the ‘Bleu Laurentides’ project.
- A portrait and information about the health state of the Lake.
- The various components and the problems existing at the level of its watershed.
- Actions to focus on in order to restore to the need and to preserve the natural balance of the Lake and the quality of its water.
Residents already used to the VLMP analysis won't be surprised to find in the document to produce a presentation that is now somewhat familiar. Finally, the document lists an impressive series of recommendations to achieve the above goal. It leaves to the identified actors the care to establish the order of priority of these actions and to implement them.
When applying this model to the variables already identified at Lake Saint-François-Xavier, one could consider the following topics, among others, in the development of a lake master plan:
- The history of colonization and the evolution of Montfort-Newaygo around the Lake.
- The characteristics of the watershed.
- The quality of the water.
- Septic installations and their performance.
- The management of storm water and ditches; sedimentation and siltation.
- The characterization of the shoreline.
- The preliminary characterization of aquatic plants
- The condition, the level of risk and maintenance of the old dam; its impact on the ecosystem.
- The usages of the Lake, access and traffic.
- The impact of navigation and its regulation.
- The impact of the cottages, recreational and tourism facilities development.
- The densification of the habitat, urbanization, and the support capacity of the Lake.
- The risks and vulnerabilities identification and analysis.
- The determination of the studies to continue, their relevance and their priority.
The first steps in the development of such project
CRE-Laurentides' Plans directeurs de lac
Lac Léonard, Lac Bleu, Lac Morency, Lac-de-l'Achigan, Lac Quenouille, Lac Marois, Lac Guindon, Lac-des-Seigneurs, Lac Ouimet, Lac Parent, Lac Saint-Amour, Lac Millette*, Lac-en-Coeur, Lac-des-Becs-scie
At the Municipality of Sainte-Anne-des-Lakes, where lie six of the Lakes mentioned above, the professional quality of the plans made by the CRE and ordered under the initiative of the ABVLACS, in partnership with the Municipality was deeply appreciated. It is pointed out though that the success of the realization of the intervention measures put forward in these plans needs a strong consensus and a real involvement of the concerned actors.
*Les milieux naturels des Laurentides, dont les nombreux lacs et cours d’eau, représentent l’une des principales richesses de la région. L’été dernier, dans le cadre d’un mandat accordé par la Ville (Ste-Adèle) à l’organisme Conseil régional de l’Environnement des Laurentides(CRE), un portrait de certains lacs ainsi que de leurs environs fut réalisé. Le CRE a ainsi pu rédiger des plans directeurs qui identiﬁent les enjeux et les problématiques spéciﬁques, ainsi que les actions à privilégier aﬁn d’améliorer ou de préserver la santé des lacs visés. L'Actualité adéloise
Involvement of the municipality of wentworth-Nord
A Proposed Model of document (Lake Millette)
Plan directeur du lac Saint-François-Xavier
Lake St. Francois-Xavier Health Master Plan
Model (suggested by the undersigned)
Photo de Mme Laporte
Document produit par le (produced by the) Conseil régional de l’environnement des Laurentides (CRE Laurentides
En collaboration avec (In collaboration with) la municipalité de Wentworth-Nord, l’association du lac Saint-François-Xavier, le Fonds environnemental du lac Saint-François-Xavier
I. Définition et objectif
What is a Lake Health Master Plan? A document in which are put together available information on a lake and on which the actors can guide their actions towards preserving its health.
The Town of St. Sauveur took advantage of the CRE’s Bleu Laurentides’ program to develop such master plan.
The plan is divided in three sections:
A portrait of the Lake
The issues identified in its watershed
The actions which should be considered
In a whole, this document lists a serial of recommendations for the protection of Lake Millette. It shall be borne to concerned actors to implement these.
Par sa participation au programme de Soutien technique des lacs de Bleu Laurentides en 2014, la Ville de Saint-Sauveur a démontré son souci de préserver la qualité des lacs de son territoire. Dans cette perspective, la réalisation d’un plan directeur pour le lac Millette a été jugée prioritaire.
Tout d’abord, qu’est-ce qu’un plan directeur de lac? Il s’agit d’un document qui rassemble les informations disponibles sur un lac et qui guide les principaux acteurs dans leurs décisions et leurs actions pour en assurer la qualité, ou du moins, éviter qu’il ne se détériore. Un plan directeur comporte trois sections principales :
•Un portrait et des constats sur l’état de santé du lac;
•Les différents enjeux et problématiques rencontrés sur le territoire du bassin versant du lac;
•Les actions à privilégier afin d’améliorer ou de préserver la qualité de l’eau du lac.
L’objectif de ce plan directeur est donc d’identifier les enjeux et les problématiques spécifiques au lac Millette et son bassin versant, ainsi que de convenir, en concertation avec les acteurs concernés, des actions à poser afin d’améliorer ou de préserver sa santé.
De façon générale, ce document émet une série de recommandations qu’il serait souhaitable de prendre en considération pour la protection de l’état de santé du lac Millette. Il incombera aux parties impliquées de mettre en oeuvre les actions recommandées, selon l’ordre de priorité défini dans le document de suivi1. Le plan d’action pourra évoluer au fil du temps, selon les nouvelles réalités du milieu.
II. Acteurs impliqués. (Involved actors)
Voici une liste des principaux acteurs impliqués dans le plan directeur du lac Millette:
• Citoyens résidant sur le territoire du bassin versant du lac Millette (permanents et saisonniers);
• Ville de Saint-Sauveur;
• Association du lac Millette;
• Conseil régional de l’environnement des Laurentides (CRE Laurentides);
• Organisme de bassin versant de la rivière du Nord (Abrinord);
• Municipalité régionale de comté (MRC) des Pays-d’en-Haut;
• Entrepreneurs et constructeurs;
• Gouvernement provincial :
o Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC); o Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP); o Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Occupation du territoire (MAMOT); o Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ). • Gouvernement fédéral:
o Transports Canada.
III. Portrait et constats
1. Characteristics of the watershed
1.1 Localisation of the watershed
Lake Millette is situated in the Municipality of St. Sauveur. It is part of the Rivière du Nord’s watershed. The river crosses the North-East part of the Municipality (fig. 1 & 2) to end its course in the Ottawa River, at St. André-d’Argenteuil.
1. Caractéristiques du bassin versant
1.1 Localisation du bassin versant
Le lac Millette est situé sur le territoire de la Ville de Saint-Sauveur, qui fait partie de la MRC des Pays-d’en-Haut, ainsi que de la zone de gestion intégrée de l’eau (ZGIE) d’Abrinord qui couvre une superficie de 2 296,6 km2. Cette zone est entièrement située dans le bassin versant de la rivière des Outaouais, qui est un bassin de niveau 1. La rivière du Nord, dont le bassin versant de niveau 2 compte pour 96,8% de la ZGIE, draine 2213 km2 de territoire (Abrinord, 2013). Elle s’écoule du nord au sud sur une distance de 146,4 km, de Lantier jusqu’à son exutoire situé à Saint-André-d’Argenteuil. Elle prend sa source dans le lac de la Montagne Noire et traverse la partie nord-est du territoire de la Ville de Saint-Sauveur (voir figures 1 et 2) (Abrinord, 2009).
by Carl Chapdelaine