Healthy Lake Scugog Steering Committee
The Healthy Lake Scugog Working Group, initiated in 2013, became The Healthy Lake Scugog Steering Committee (HLSSC), a committee of Scugog Council, in 2016.
HLSSC is a committee of the Township of Scugog Council, and is comprised of representatives from all government levels, local business owners, private residents, the Kawartha Region Conservation Authority, Scugog Lake Stewards Inc,. Parks Canada, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.
The HLSSC’s mission is to identify short- and long-term solutions and research through appropriate lead agencies within and outside the HLSSC and to provide a collaborative effort to facilitate decision making and information gathering which can lead to actions for improving Lake Scugog’s overall health, recreational and tourism/economic values.
This group was formed in 2013 to work on in-lake conditions in Lake Scugog. Much was done to understand the dynamics of Lake Scugog through the development of the Lake Scugog Environmental Management Plan (LSEMP) and the Port Perry Stormwater Management Plan.
While LSEMP was being researched, it was thought that the Region and the Municipality had no jurisdiction over the lake itself and that it was in the exclusive hands of the Trent-Severn Waterway, Parks Canada .
The Scugog Lake Stewards pushed at this supposed limit and wished to help the lake in an holistic way by a) reducing the problem of invasive aquatic plants throughout the lake, b) increasing lake depth, and c) improving the usability and aesthetics of Port Perry bay and rowing club bay (Kent Bay).
In 2012, nature dealt the lake and especially the lake shore close to Port Perry a nasty blow. Its newly created, scenic waterfront area was overwhelmed with weed and algae. A drought lowered water levels and caused boat traffic to drop drastically. (In 2016, another drought dropped water levels to historic lows by mid-summer.)
This drought brought the Lake Scugog stakeholders together. The Working Group for a Healthy Lake Scugog was formed, and MP Erin O’Toole attended the first session.
The Stewards supported the working group by researching practical solutions, which considered various types of aeration, benthic mats, harvesting and several more esoteric ideas.
The Healthy Lake Scugog Working Group reached consensus on a method which would solve the muck-depth problem and reduce the overabundance of lake-plants and algae problem. The working group decided that the most practical solution was to dredge out the muck, nutrients, weeds and pollutants.
But, how big a project was this project to be? How much would the Trent-Severn Waterway allow? How could we prevent the lake from just quickly filling in again?
The HLSSC determined from the Port Perry Stormwater Management Plan developed by Kawartha Conservation that two large stormwater outfalls from urban Port Perry were the largest point sources of additional nutrient loads to the lake. Therefore, it stands to reason, these areas should be targeted for improvement first. Their location at the south end of the shallower side of the lake means that they gather excessive amounts of nutrient and other pollutants and sends them, on the currents, up through the lake and the Scugog River. It was decided to focus the first leg of the Lake Scugog Enhancement Project in Port Perry Bay where the Curts Street, Water Street and Casimir Street stormwater outlets enter the lake.