Protecting our environment is a top priority for the association. Below are some helpful resources and links.
While piers, decks and cabins may help you enjoy your lake, shoreline development can obscure its natural beauty, masking the landscape’s expression. Be aware of provincial and local shoreline zoning regulations designed to help keep the landscape in harmony with the natural lakeshore, and keep Lac Sinclair’s most expressive feature beautiful.
Maintain and restore natural vegetation strips along the shoreline, not only to enhance the lake’s beauty, but to provide cover and shade for fish, wildlife and people, also increasing privacy, reducing runoff and noise;
Logs and branches make great aquatic habitat. Resist the urge to “tidy-up” when a storm leaves woody debris along the shoreline. Contact your zoning office before you begin any construction activity on or near your shoreline;
All structures, including decks, must be set back according the zoning regulations from the shoreline;
Follow standards for shoreline cutting, lot size, sanitation, and construction;
Design structures to complement the landscape. Use natural colors and build only what you need; and
Try natural-looking rock or boulder rip-rap, instead of sea walls and sheet piles, to prevent shoreline erosion or better yet, protect natural vegetation.
The following are very good references on this subject:
For details on Municipal Affairs’ regulations on protection of the shoreline, visit: http://www.mamr.gouv.qc.ca
From the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, “The Shore Primer” is available at www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans-habitat
Moreover, an extremely informative document is available in both English and French, on protecting lakes from blue-green algae also proposes how to better manage the water’s edge, and recommends suitable aquatic and shoreline plants for rehabilitating this area. Click here for more details: “Protecting our Lakes and Watercourses: Essential to Fighting the Proliferation of Blue-Green Algae ! Guide for Outaouais residents”
The Association has a brochure from the Fédération interdisciplinaire de l’horticulture ornementale du Québec (FIHOQ) in collaboration with the Association québecoise des producteurs en pépinière. Entitled “Je végétalise ma bande riveraine” (in French only), this brochure can be made available free to members.
A sister publication is a more complete guide to suitable plants, including the Latin, French and English names for each variety mentioned, although the main text is only in French. The latter may be borrowed from the Association, or ordered for $10 from FIHOQ, at www.fihoq.qc.ca.
Two resources on appropriate docks are below.
From the Government of Quebec, information about lakeshore protection and the installation of docks is available (in French only): http://www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca/eau/rives/fichestechniques.htm
From the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, refer to The Dock Primer ( www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans-habitat )
There are new municipal regulations, based on provincial law, for septic systems and guidance for cottagers about their legal obligations.
As of the summer of 2010, the Municipality of La Pêche is undertaking an inspection of all septic systems in the region, with the priorities being Lac Bernard and Lac des Loups (Wolf Lake). In the La Pêche area, regulations call for septic tanks of permanent residences to be emptied every two years, and for seasonal residences, every four years.
The Municipality of La Pêche invites property owners to contact their office – or direct their concerns through the Association, if they prefer – if they observe or smell something that may indicate a problem with a septic system in their area, so that the municipality can take action, while protecting the identity of any persons who choose to contact them on this matter. The Association urges those whose property falls in the Municipality of Low to also report the same to that municipality.
Because of limited treatment facilities in our area, there are currently problems of quotas for local companies that have traditionally emptied septic tanks around Lac Sinclair; therefore, do not wait until the last minute before informing yourself about which company would be available for this service.
For more details on the regulations, click on the appropriate sites:
La Pêche (http://www.villelapeche.qc.ca) and their document “Principal Requirements for the Issuance of a Building Permit (Residence or Cottage)”
Low (LINK: (http://www.lowquebec.ca and http://www.mrcvg.qc.ca/textes/mun-low)
Technical guidance to help follow these regulations: http://mddep.gouv.ca/eau/eaux-usees
Some guidance on maintaining septic systems in good order is provided in: “Protecting our Lakes and Watercourses: Essential to Fighting the Proliferation of Blue-Green Algae ! Guide for Outaouais residents.
N.B.: The Association’s water testing program will report, to the appropriate municipality, any properties that indicate an unacceptably high e-coli count.
Although Lac Sinclair has been fortunate (so far!) to avoid this algae problem in our waters, property owners should appreciate what a lake needs to be healthy, e.g. caring for transition areas such as wetlands, and what has been learned about blue-green algae and its impact on the waters of the Outaouais, so that we may employ sustainable practices that will keep this problem away.
The information is included in this document: “Protecting our Lakes and Watercourses: Essential to Fighting the Proliferation of Blue-Green Algae ! Guide for Outaouais residents”.
From the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, refer to the Baitfish Primer and the Fish Habitat Primer, http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans-habitat
This publication presents the fishing periods and applicable catch limits for the next two fishing seasons, i.e. until March 31, 2011: http://www.mrnf.gouv.qc.ca/english/publications/online/wildlife/fishing-regulations/index.asp
New federal government requirements for safety equipment and pleasure craft licensing came out on May 12, 2010. To find out how these new requirements may affect you, we recommend that you check out this information, by clicking on these words.
Your lake property is also the natural habitat of black bears. Heed the following so that you don’t attract them:
Put your garbage out for collection only on the morning of collection, not the night before. If this is not possible, secure your garbage bin so bears can’t get in;
Recognize that bird feeders can attract bears; and
Remove grease and food residue from barbecue grills, including the grease cup underneath, after each use.
While the chance of your seeing or encountering a black bear is low, it is best to be prepared. Do not approach the bear; instead, slowly back away, and do not turn and run. In a life-threatening emergency, call your local police or dial 911. More information is available on a Government of Ontario site, www.ontario.ca/bearwise.
Most years, beaver activity affects lake levels. The Association is not responsible for removing beaver dams, but – depending upon the circumstances, e.g. effects of rising water levels on more than one property – may be able to help the owner on whose property the beaver dam has been built. The Association can recommend a reliable trapper to help the owner get rid of beavers. Note that a permit is required from the Ministry of Natural Resources to dismantle the beaver dam and bring the water level down; refer to www.mmf.gouv.qc.ca for more information.
Although the haunting cry of the loon is part and parcel of our memories of Lac Sinclair, this aquatic bird has many other interesting features.
- The loon family is one of the oldest in the world with fossils dating back 65 million years (sparrows, by contrast, are less than 2 million years old).
- A Huron legend has the loon bringing soil in his beak to rebuild the earth after the flood.
- The common loon is the largest of the five species of loons worldwide, all five occurring in Canada.
The male and female have a similar appearance.
Summer: white checkered pattern on his black back; very pointed black bill; black head and neck with streaked white collar; white belly.
Winter: greyish, with whitish foreneck, breast, and belly; grey bill.
Young: brownish becoming greyish; dark bill; adult plumage by third year.
- Eats mainly fish – one family consumes 900 kilos a season.
- Hunts from the surface with the bill and eyes in the water.
- Catches fish by diving, propelled by feet and sometimes wings.
- Can dive to 75 m. for 3 minutes if threatened. The average dive lasts 45 seconds.
- Capable of submerging slowly by compressing plumage and emptying lungs.
- At times, eats mollusks, frogs, crustaceans, and some aquatic plants.
- Ingests a few pebbles to aid digestion.
- Chases away other aquatic birds from his fishing territory, especially the common merganser at Lac Sinclair.
Yodel: a wail followed by undulating notes is the territorial call of the male. It is usually heard from dusk to dawn in spring and early summer.
Wail: resembles the howl of a wolf. This wail is used by the loon to seek its partner or offspring. It can be heard at any time.
Tremolo: tremulous vibration. This cry of alarm is sometimes referred to as a “hysterical laugh.”
A soft hoot: used to stay in touch with nearby family.
- freshwater rivers and lakes of at least 5 ha.
- prefers solitude.
- has deserted lakes where acid rain has killed the fish.
- winters along the coasts of the Maritimes and the US in ice-free salt water
Courtship, Nesting, and Childrearing:
Loon couples mate for life and return each year to the same nesting area as soon as the ice breaks up. The courtship display involves the simultaneous lowering of beaks into the water, the beating of wings, and diving. This is the preamble to copulation on land. The fragile nest is close to the water, often on a small island, because the placement of a loon’s feet at the back of its body makes it difficult for the loon to walk on land. Motorboat waves can destroy the nest. A loon lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated by both parents in turn for 28-31 days. The chicks can swim and dive in a few days. Often the parents carry the chicks on their back to let their down dry. The young depend on the adults for the summer. The young can fly 70-84 days after hatching. Flight is difficult because the loon must run quickly, beating his wings on the surface of the water for a great distance to become airborne. Once he is up, he can fly at 100 km/hr.
Please enjoy the loons this summer! Let’s remember to respect their desire for solitude, so that they will continue to return each spring, letting us experience them in nature rather than just on the “loonie” coin.
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has a very useful guide entitled “Fish Habitat Primer”, which is relevant to lakes and can be accessed at: www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans-habitat.
Feeding birds such as gulls, ducks, and geese around the lake can create problems for the birds as well as for the environment. Such birds are better off with a healthy natural diet. Moreover, their excrement may reduce water quality in the lake.
In September 2007 freshwater jellyfish were found in Lake Sinclair. This variety of jellyfish is not considered dangerous to humans since we have no hard evidence that these organisms can penetrate the human skin.
They are about the size of a quarter when fully grown (20-25 mm in diameter). They are umbrella shaped and have a whorl of string-like tentacles around their circular edge (ring canal). Each tentacle contains hundreds of special cells called cnidocytes. These cnidocytes contain the nematocytes that are used to capture a prey. These jellyfish are usually translucent with a whitish or greenish tinge. Often, large flat sex organs called gonads hang from the underside of the jellyfish. These organs make the jellyfish easier to spot because they are not translucent.
The freshwater jellyfish, called Craspedacusta sowerbii, is not a true jellyfish like some of its salt water relatives. The C. sowerbii differs slightly from the true marine jellyfish in the fact that it has a structure called velum on the ventral surface. This thin, shelf-like membranous structure extends inward from the circular edge (ring canal) of the bell. The manubrium, which ends in a mouth, extends down through a hole in the velum. The velum is the structure that sets C. sowerbii apart from the true jellyfish and is the reason why it belongs to the class Hydrozoa which includes the more common hydra. Therefore C.sowerbii is a hydra, but because it looks like a jellyfish, we call it a jellyfish.
This jellyfish is most often found in calm water. It prefers standing water rather than currents. It feeds on tiny, microscopic animals called zooplankton: using its cnidocytes the jellyfish injects into its prey a paralyzing substance. It can also feed on macroinvertebrates and even on small fish. Living in colonies of 40 to 50 members, we can mostly see them at the end of summer when the water of the lake is warm. Usually August and September are peak months for jellyfish sighting because lake water is warm and food is abundant. Jellyfish will be floating or swimming gently just below the surface of the water. Sometimes it will reveal its presence by disturbing the surface of the water when it comes to the surface. In our region Dandford, Cayamant, Gauvreau, des Loups, L’Escalier and Leslie lakes have already acknowledged the presence of this jellyfish.
The Association continues to monitor any activity related to uranium mining in the vicinity of the Lake. Expert opinions indicate that there is little expectation of recent activity developing further, as the quantities of uranium identified are insufficient to justify further development. Some historical information is available in an article which appeared in an earlier Association newsletter.
“You may recall the information from Hawk Uranium’s filings at www.sedar.com that indicated it was having difficulty accessing claims it has optioned from Globex Mining Enterprises on Grand-Calumet Island. Globex filed an Annual Information Form on Sedar dated March 27, 2008 that refers to the optioned claims, as follows: “Hawk Uranium Inc. continued their work in 2007 on the Grand Calumet uranium property including an airborne geophysical survey and additional land acquisition and ground follow-up.
Unfortunately, Hawk is being denied access to two claims covering an indicated historical uranium-rich zone. Efforts to resolve the access problem have so far been futile in part due to the Quebec Government’s refusal to enforce the provisions of the Mining Act which deal with such problems. Globex has given Hawk an initial 4 month extension to the option payment date while they attempt to solve the problem.” Note the comment that the Quebec Government is refusing to enforce provisions of the Mining Act. All the more reason why the government’s current policy of supporting private property owners’ right to deny consent to access their land needs to be codified in law. Note also the tone of the comments – maybe I am too sensitive but I take it that Globex is a touch indignant. The Quebec Government has confirmed its position regarding denial of consent to access private property to Ecojustice Canada as has been previously reported on the following blog: http://no-uranium.blogspot.com
The Quebec Government has also stated its protection of private landowners’ policy here: http://www.mrnf.gouv.qc.ca/francais/mines/uranium.jsp”. Please See Frequently Asked Question.