Annual water draw-downs from the reservoir lakes are causing serious problems for shoreline residents in the areas of safety, consservation, recreation and property. Some of these problems are:
• Loss of water access
• Property & boat damage
• Emergence of water hazards
• Loss of navigation
• Destruction of fish & wildlife habitat
The artificial manipulation of lake water levels, to meet human needs, can negatively affect the function of the littoral zone (near shore), shoreline habitat, aquatic species migration, and the magnitude of normal annual flushing of the lake.
Kushog Lake has a number of rock shoals and other submerged item (tree stumps, old refrigerators), which become navigational hazards depending on the water level. None are officially marked with buoys, although lake residents have marked a few with a variety of objects such as plastic bottles and boat bumpers.
KLPOA participates in the Canadian Loon Survey and is very concerned about the decline in the loon population on Kushog Lake. Loons return as soon as the ice is out – mid April. Usually one or two eggs are laid in late May or June, and incubation of eggs generally lasts 26-28 days (through July). If the water level rises after the eggs are laid, the nest may become flooded; if the water level drops, the loons may not be able to ‘walk’ to the nest and the eggs are more vulnerable to predators. To mitigate the unstable water levels on Kushog Lake, a number of loon nesting platforms have been installed.
Kushog Lake is one of only two lakes in the Gull River system managed for lake trout spawning (the other is Big Bob Lake) at the request of MNR. It is important to draw the water down to the winter level before lake trout move onto the spawning beds, usually in October, so that stable water levels can be maintained during the critical spawning and incubation period. This is particularly important in Kushog Lake where the spawning shoals are shallow. Lake Trout eggs hatch when water temperatures reach 0.3° to 1.0° C, usually around March-April.
Lake Trout spawn at Ox Narrows, a protected area. KLPOA is very concerned about the health of our lake trout population and has observed and recorded spawn activity almost daily during spawning season for the past 6 years. Flow affects the build-up of silt – KLPOA has twice cleaned silt off the spawning beds. We recognize that TSW and MNR work together to ensure an appropriate water level over the spawning beds during this time and encourage this continued cooperation.
All of these problems impact the rights of shoreline residents to enjoy their properties and to navigate their waterways. They threaten the economic base and growth of the region which is largely driven by the activity of shoreline residents.
What is Equitable?
The Coalition of Eqitable Waterflow (CEWF) is seeking the implementatin of an equitable water management policy for the TSW that accords equal consideration, along with fair and just treatment to everyone in the entire Trent River watershed.