Dredging of the Bay – Port Perry

The Healthy Lake Scugog committee including the Scugog Lake Stewards are looking at the option of dredging of the bay off Port Perry.  The first step taken was to identify a suitable area of those bays to conduct up-to-date depth analysis.  You will see that area on the attached map link in yellow.    Lake Scugog proposed bathymetry and dredging map  This work was carried out by Kawartha Conservation.

Secondly, many groups such as the marine industry including Port Perry Marina, the Dragon Boats547306_10151047494996340_205413208_n and the U.O.I.T. rowing club were asked what their wish lists were for course sizes and depths.  The very first go-through of those areas is shown in white on the maps.  Already those areas have been adjusted and probably will be again as time goes by. However, at this point, aiming for a standard depth of 6 ft. measured from the top of what the Trent-Severn Waterway considers the ‘navigation range’ is what is being looked at.

The next step is to test the soil in the areas contemplated for dredging and to the soil depth as needs to be removed.  The toxicity of that soil (unacceptable levels of heavy metals, hydrocarbons, PCB’s, chemicals, etc.) will determine how the dredged material must be disposed of and therefore its cost.  This testing will be carried out soon.

Dredging will be extremely expensive and what to do with the dredged material will be a very big problem to consider.  There are many options that can be considered including as shown in the drawing — using the dredgeate to help create a constructed wetland or park area with a large stormwater pond to help further treat water running off the 55 hectares of Port Perry to the south at Curts and Water Streets.  Or it could be used to create a wildlife island with special areas to improve fish spawning.

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Thick milfoil bed off Vos’ Independent is at left. Green spotty areas are white water lilies. On the right, note the silt laden turbid conditions from stormwater running in from the Curts and Water Street culvert.

In any case, dredging in the long run will not only improve the viability of Port Perry’s waterfront for recreational craft and other human uses, but it will definitely improve the health of that area of the lake by removing the silt and sediment that stormwater runoff has brought into the lake over the years.  It will give increased depth for fish and mammals, and get rid of a good deal of the overwhelming hybrid Eurasian watermilfoil that is choking the whole southern end of the bays.  From the quadcopter photos taken just off Vos’ Independent in July, you can see how thick the milfoil is there.  With this degree of plant growth, which is an invasive, pushing out native plants, oxygen levels are severely reduced and conditions are poor for fish.

In any case, this will be a very long process as priorities, plans, approvals and most difficult of all — funding — will all have to be in place before any part of the project gets underway.  However, by having most of the important authorities working together to make it happen there is a good chance that something will happen in the future.  However, let us stress again, there are many hurdles to cross.