The Environmental Imperative
A survey of lake residents and visitors, conducted in conjunction with the development of the Mississippi Lake Plan, overwhelmingly identified the primary concern as Water Quality. For ours and future generations, it is vital that we sustain and improve the quality of our watershed. Our ecosystem depends on it. We rely on clean water in our lake for swimming and recreation. The towns of Carleton Place and Almonte draw their water supply from the Mississippi. The quality of our water is vital to life as we know it.
We imagine that, without modern civilization, our lake would be pristine; certainly absent of man-made contaminants. The series of basins we call Mississippi Lakes is part of a watershed, where water flows from its higher reaches, to its final destination in another river, the Ottawa. Along its journey, the water flow collects and carries along remnants of elements deposited along the shores of its creeks and tributaries, During the spring flood, the water flow exceeds its mid-season boundaries, collecting elements from farm fields, residential properties and in extreme cases, roads, mixing a chemical soup of fertilizers (phosphate), herbicides, salts and other chemicals. As the water flow enters the lake basins, its rate slows, allowing elements to be deposited. This is the reason, year after year, water testing shows higher phosphate readings at the entry end of the lakes (Innisville) than at the outlet point (Carleton Place). Phosphates are plant nutrients. An unhealthy level of phosphates results in an unhealthy lake.
What can we do?
Most lake dwellers have heard these remedies many times: Don't landscape your property to the waterline. Leave a vegetative buffer between your dwelling and the lake to slow run-off and prevent unwelcome elements from entering the lake. Don't use fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Use phosphate-free laundry products. Have your septic system pumped on a regular basis and, if necessary, upgrade it to today's standards.