Enviro Lac Gauvreau
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Enviro Lac Gauvreau

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Improving water quality is our responsibility

A table of contents…

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The single, most important measure of a lake's health is the quality of its water! The spread of invasive species, the presence of phosphates and other nutrients, turbid (murky) water, and outbreaks of blue-green algae blooms are all symptoms of a lake that could use some TLC. As such, we have devoted several pages in this website to an exploration of issues that affect the health of Lac Gauvreau. Please take time to familiarize yourself with these factors, as the future well-being of Lac Gauvreau depends on our understanding of what can be done to address these problems. From this knowledge can come action… but we really need your help!

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1. What are the problems with our lake?
Lac Gauvreau was one of the earlier lakes to become populated due to its size and close proximity to Ottawa and Gatineau. Despite many measures to reduce nutrients in the lake, nutrient levels remain largely unchanged. They have not worsened, but they are also not improving. Therefore we need continued vigilance and we must continue to step up and work on all fronts to make our lake healthy again.

2. "Green Fund" grants target Lac Gauvreau's environmental issues
Since 2021, Enviro Lac Gauvreau has applied for—and has received—several grants from the La Pêche Municipality "Green Fund" to target environmental issues such as fighting climate change, managing waste, protecting water, and caring for the soil.

3. Three-Year Action Plan For A Healthier Lake
The Board of Enviro Lac Gauvreau, in consultation with experts from the not-for-profit environmental organization ABV des 7, has drafted a three-year action plan to address the water quality issues that Lac Gauvreau is encountering. The following are a few highlights of the plan.

4. Shoreline naturalization is one of the most important measures residents can take to restore lake health
Much can be done to preserve and restore lake health. Preservation and restoration of the shoreline are the most important measures residents can take to avoid nutrients flowing into the water, a strategy that is vital to preventing further premature aging of Lac Gauvreau.

This means planting native species in the strip of land from the water’s edge to 15 meters back. The roots of these plants will absorb the nutrients before they get into the lake.

Your LAC GAUVREAU Association is giving away native species that you can plant on your shoreline.

5. Latest Water Quality Test Results Are In
Thanks to Municipal funding, a full battery of tests were completed in 2021, and those results were released in June of 2022. Besides the new assessments, volunteers continue collecting E. coli samples, done annually, to get a complete profile of Lac Gauvreau's overall health. The La Pêche Municipality Green Fund granted funds to support innovative projects from the community and actions in areas such as fighting climate change, managing waste, protecting water, and caring for the soil. Lac Gauvreau has benefited from several grants that will result in direct action, such as water quality testing, to improve the health of our lake.

6. What Is Eurasian Watermilfoil And What Can We Do About It?
Lac Gauvreau faces an uphill battle against the spread of Eurasian Milfoil in many parts of the lake.

The rate at which mlfoil spreads depends on variables such as lake nutrient levels, temperatures, boat traffic, days of sun, etc. However, it primarily spreads through stem fragmentation, so if a single plant is cut into 10 pieces, it will grow 10 more plants from those pieces. It is also a very fragile plant that is easily chopped up by a canoe paddle or especially by a boat's propeller. Significant growth occurs when it spreads into high boat traffic areas, including boat launch zones, shallow waterways with high traffic and near cottage docks. Milfoil can sometimes double or triple in size in two or three years.

7. Why Is Blue-Green Algae A Bad Sign?
As far back as 2000, a blue-green algae bloom devastated cottagers by causing the temporary closure of the Lac Gauvreau. After 2000, with the help of the mayor, the lake’s volunteer environmental group put together an action plan to clean up the lake. Still, another bloom appeared in November, 2008. Fast forward to the summer of 2020 and the spring and late summer of 2021 when sightings of blue-green algae blooms indicate the continued presence of high nutrient levels.

8. What Does A High Phosphate Level Do To A Lake?
The presence of phosphorous results in excess nutrients that make the water less clear and that promote the growth of blue-green algae and Eurasian watermilfoil. Annual water quality assessments, including phosphorous sampling, are a useful part of a milfoil and blue-green algae monitoring program. This is especially true for a relatively small body of water like Lac Gauvreau that is bordered by agricultural land on the west side and that is subject to rainwater runoff from an expanding residential development on the east side.

In the fall of 2020, biologist from l’ABV des 7 assessed Lac Gauvreau's water quality. They described Lac Gauvreau as Eutrophic, a sign that, in the words of the lake association president, "If we keep doing as we do, our lake will die." Eutrophic is the poorest water quality reading on the trophic state index.