We Need a Ramsey Lake Watershed Study

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Under Review (2013): 135 units proposed for the South Peninsula off Keast Drive A Watershed Study will tell us: • how to maintain existing wetland and floodplain. Climate change will bring more extreme weather events so wetlands and floodplains are crucial for clean water protection. Stormwater run-­‐off should not be directed through natural wetlands. • the consequences of damage to natural features. A significant stream, leading to fish habitat, and an established forest are set to be altered which will increase erosion, especially from the steep heights of this land, and harm fish habitat. ACT NOW. . .WHAT CAN YOU DO? Your city wants to hear from you with your concerns • Call the city planning department at 311 • Talk to your city councilor • Talk to your family, friends and neighbours ASK FOR A WATERSHED STUDY FOR RAMSEY LAKE BEFORE MORE BLASTING IS DONE!

To find out more, contact Lilly Noble, Co-­‐Chair

Ramsey Lake Stewardship Committee (705) 691-­‐5538 Join our group ramseylake@live.com or visit our website.

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CAN THE RAMSEY LAKE WATERSHED SUPPORT MORE DEVELOPMENT? WE ALL DEPEND ON THE LAKE: DEPEND ON THE LAKE: Ramsey Lake is a source of 40% of Sudbury’s municipal and private drinking water and enjoyed by organizations and individuals for recreational activities such as boating, swimming and fishing. Consider the cost to Sudbury if we were forced to find an alternative source of drinking water! (Photo: Proposed development area off Keast Drive looking north toward the Bethel Lake wetland) YET, NO WATERSHED STUDIES HAVE BEEN DONE : *The Ministry of the Environment states “urban development without watershed/subwatershed planning is discouraged…” (MOE Guidelines) *Dr. John Gunn (Vale Living with Lakes Centre) urges us “. . . to insist that drinking water be protected or lakes be protected. . . [OR, IF WE DO NOT]. . . we’ll lose the use of our waters more and more frequently.” (Sudbury Star, Oct. 13/12) *Dr. David Pearson cautions us to make considered decisions: “Restricting development in a tailored fashion on the lake is the only way to protect water quality.” (Northern Life, Feb. 28/13)

WE NEED WATERSHED STUDIES NOW -­ BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! A watershed study can tell us: (1) The major sources of phosphorus and other pollutants entering the lake; (2) Their effects are on our drinking water, fish habitat, ecosystem and recreation; (3) What we can do to reduce their entry into our lakes.

WARNING SIGNS: 1.Public Beach Closures: In the summers of 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 (July 28 –August 5) due to blue-­‐green algae blooms that produce cyanobacteria toxins (Sudbury and District Health Unit) accompanied by advisories for lakeside residents with lakewater intakes not to use lake water for drinking or bathing. (Blue-­‐green algae bloom along the Lake Ramsey shoreline)

2. Higher phosphorus levels lead to blue-­green algae blooms: a) Phosphorus levels from selected samples have varied in the past 8 years from as high as 15.6 micrograms/Litre in 2005 to 7.5 in 2012. For the spring run-­‐off periods, the average phosphorus level was 10.1 micrograms/L over the last 9 years. What is protective for the lake? Lower than 10 micrograms/L. b) Points of entry of phosphorus into the lake: Phosphorus reaching Ramsey Lake from Frobisher Creek were measured as 78.9 micrograms/L in 2009 and 110.5 in 2010. The stream leading to Ramsey Lake from Bethel Lake had readings of 353 and 136 micrograms/L phosphorus in the fall of 2010. Levels flowing into Ramsey Lake from Minnow Lake were also at these higher levels in the spring and fall (Bradley, J. M.Sc. thesis). High readings in the Bell Park storm sewer add to the urgency for a thorough sub-­‐ watershed studies are needed in these areas.

3. Climate change: The average mean temperature in Sudbury has increased from 3 degrees C in 1955 to about 4.5 degrees C in 2010 (Vital Signs Report, City of Lakes Edition). According to Dr. Pearson, “Ramsey is on a knife edge” of becoming overwhelmed with algae blooms (Northern Life, Feb. 28/13). 4. Other lake contaminants: An elevated sodium level of 53 mg/L was found in 2009 and is steadily increasing. Note that, at levels above 20 mg/L the health unit must be notified so that local

physicians and patients can be informed. (Sudbury & District Health Unit). Salt levels will increase with all new roadways built in the watershed. 5. Shoreline already disturbed or damaged: 21-­‐25% of the populated shoreline (Ramsey Lake Report Card). Enforcement of existing bylaws for shoreline buffer zones on lakefront properties is required along with efforts to increase the required buffer area.

Top 3 Priorities for Watershed Studies in the 2006 Official Plan of the City of Greater Sudbury:

1) Nepahwin/Robinson; 2) Ramsey Lake; 3) Whitson River Lake Nepahwin was assessed and cleaned up only after the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans directed the city to act. Let’s be proactive with Ramsey Lake and get a watershed study done sooner than later.

Pressures on Watersheds from Urban Run-­Off

A watershed study on Lake Simcoe showed the built environment to be a major source of phosphorus: (1) 31% from urban runoff and stormwater; 2) 27% from atmospheric deposits partly from wind transport of disturbed soils that come from land stripped of plants during construction; 3) 25% from farming and, 4) only 6% from septic systems on lakeside properties. Urgency for a Study of the Ramsey Lake Watershed: Already approved: 1000 new units in the watershed. Stormwater from these developed areas will need to be properly cleaned using the best possible stormwater treatment to ensure phosphorus levels and water temperatures do not rise, and pollution is minimized. Will it be done? (Proposed developments in red.) Let’s not guess.