Spring dives to remove zebra mussels are back on Lake Massawippi for a sprint start, which began last Monday. This is a crucial step in a structured plan of attack that will last all season. The goal is to reverse the trend at all costs by preventing the reproduction of young mussels established in 2021.


The spring dives will be accelerated in the coming weeks in collaboration with the MFFP (Ministère des Forêts, de la faune et des parcs), Explos-Nature and MCI (Memphrémagog Conservation Inc.). Divers from the Quebec Aquarium and the Montreal Biodome will join this remarkable scientific team next month.

At the same time, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) will be systematically and rapidly analyzing water samples throughout the summer to determine the presence of veligers, a fundamental indicator of the degree of reproduction.

The president of the Régie du parc régional Massawippi and mayor of Hatley, Hélène Daneau, and the mayor of North Hatley, Marcella Gerrish, were both at the station to salute the departure of the divers last Monday and to show their complete solidarity in this ultimate fight.

« We are on the front lines with Blue Massawippi and it's great to see all these teams coming to our rescue. Last November, a shock wave spread through North Hatley and the newly elected council made a firm commitment to do everything possible to support the fight. We are redesigning our boat washing system and rethinking our actions to make the lake ever more accessible in a more responsible way. » 

Marcella D. Gerrish, mayor of North Hatley




The following letter is signed by the Executive Committee of Blue Massawippi, Patrick Fréchette, president, Denis Petitclerc, vice-president, Philippe Beauregard, treasurer and Johanne Cloutier, secretary, in complete solidarity with the general manager Michèle Gérin and the assistant general manager, responsible for diving operations, Philippe-David Blanchette. It is addressed to the members of Blue Massawippi, the 5 riverside municipalities, the Parc régional Massawippi, the city of Waterville and the media.



Despite last fall's efforts, despite the spring sprint in dives that Blue Massawippi has undertaken since May 2, and despite the investments of other shoreline municipalities and the Parc régional Massawippi, the Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley council and its mayor Jacques Demers still refuse to do their part.

Acting against the tide, they ordered last Monday the reopening of their municipal descent, recognized as the most spectacular open passageway on Lake Massawippi.

By doing so, Jacques Demers and his council are endangering the entire Stop Zebra Mussels operation and the investments of nearly half a million dollars that will be necessary this summer to counter the zebra mussel.

Obstinacy or Ignorance?

In fact, Blue Massawippi has made numerous requests for meetings since November 4, all of which were refused on the pretext that only the Regional Park would manage Lake Massawippi from now on. Called personally at the last minute in March, Mayor Demers declared that he had assigned the file to Councillor Guillaume Poirier who would call us back in the next few days.

Blue Massawippi is still waiting while Sainte-Catherine opens its descent, freeway for zebra mussels, on the same day and at the same time that the mayors of its neighbors Hatley and North Hatley come to greet the departure of divers from all over Quebec who have come to lend us a hand. Where is the mistake?

Obviously, the Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley council does not want to hear or see all the partners and experts who have joined Blue Massawippi and, preferring to remain in the dark, is incapable of collaboration, solidarity or transparency.

Drowning the fish

As his municipality's ex-officio representative on the Board, Jacques Demers loudly and clearly maintained that the Park would henceforth be the key to the responsible management of Lake Massawippi. Obviously, this was a pretext to drown the fish, since it was his council that first flouted the sustained efforts of President Hélène Daneau, in defiance of the actions and investments of the other four municipalities, Blue Massawippi and its own citizens, many of whom contribute tens of thousands of dollars in funding.

This is all it takes for offenders to enjoy the naivety of Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley, which still acts as if a sticker sold to users travelling from lake to lake could protect the lake and as if a bylaw was meant to remain on the shelf.

Encouraging delinquency

While the Regional Park and Blue Massawippi are joining forces to send the same message and reinforce the application of sanctions, Jacques Demers persists, according to our information from several municipal sources, in asking the Regional Park that non-motorized boats not be bothered.


As if it were up to a mayor or council to decide who is or is not in violation. Everyone knows they have no right to do so.

As if Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley was unaware of its own formal by-law:

Every boat owner must, before launching a boat in lake Massawippi, have this boat washed in a washing station of lake Massawippi (a. 3) except in case of a sticker, if the boat owner ... certifies to an employee in charge of the application of the present by-law, to an employee in charge of a public wharf or to a washing employee that the boat has not transited in another body of water since the last washing of the boat carried out in order to allow access to lake Massawippi. (a..13).

Thus, anyone who goes down to Ste-Catherine-de-Hatley would have to provide this attestation every time they do so or they would be exposed to a penalty. Preferring to weaken its by-law by giving access to the lake without supervision, Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley encourages delinquency. At the same time, it breaks the message and feeds the feeling of injustice raised by all those who respect the lake and respect the rules.

Two councillors represent Lake Massawippi in Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley. Are we to believe that, as a minority, they are victims of their colleagues' indifference to protecting Lake Massawippi? Should we consider that the entire magnificent northwestern flank of Lake Massawippi does not get the attention it deserves in Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley?

Solutions do exist

Several simple solutions exist. Washing is free for sticker holders within 5 minutes of the descent. An electronic opening code issued at the station could easily be considered. The village of North Hatley and the Massawippi Beach boldly pay a supervisor 98 hours a week each. How can we expect the population to tolerate this two-way management any longer?

There is still time for Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley to get to 2022. Jacques Demers, as mayor, has lost the battle for one of his 2 lakes already heavily contaminated with zebra mussels. As reeve of the MRC, he is responsible for many other endangered lakes and as president of the Fédération québécoise des municipalités, he must, in principle, show leadership. He can no longer drown the fish.

Either the mayor and council close this lake access until a proper solution is found, or they will have to answer for it at their next meeting in June, long before there are no more live fish to drown in Lake Massawippi.

Blue Massawippi,  May 8th, 2022.

The executive committee : Patrick Fréchette, president, Denis Petitclerc, vice-president, Philippe Beauregard, treasurer Johanne Cloutier, secretary.

Michèle Gérin, general manager, Philippe-David Blanchette, assistant general manager / in charge of diving operations.


QUOTES : ABOUT Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley

« As soon as I learned of the reopening of the access ramp, I personally wrote to the 2 councillors of the Lake Massawippi districts to beg them to make the necessary corrections at the meeting that evening. No response from the council. I am speechless. As a citizen of Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley, I am ashamed. As president of Blue Massawippi, I am perplexed. Should we stop our operations out of loyalty to the donors who have entrusted us with more than $300,000 in only a few months? Unfortunately, I must now consider it. »

Patrick Fréchette, president, Blue Massawippi

«The premise of our action plan presupposes the absolute security control of public descents to avoid new contaminations. While the St. Catherine Council refused to hear this from us, its members could not ignore the immense media coverage and the mayor was personally informed on several occasions at the Regional Park and during his election campaign. For the past 10 years, Bleu Massawippi has been talking about it with courtesy, it is time to raise the tone »

Denis Petitclerc, vice-president, Blue Massawippi

« I am myself an elected municipal councillor and I cannot believe that a municipality can refuse to look at an action plan, refuse to see the immensity of the actions taken on all sides and disassociate itself from the other municipalities that are linked to the lake. By its indifference, St.Catherine condemns our actions to a medium-term failure. It puts the burden on other municipal administrations that will have to pay important and recurrent sums to maintain their water intake and filtration plant. Worse yet, it condemns all the other lakes in the Eastern Townships to irremediable contamination. »

Philippe-David Blanchette, Assistant General Manager, in charge of the diving program, Blue Massawippi       photo : Jessica Garneau La Tribune


« It seems that Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley is the only one who does not want to believe it. Today, the inability of this municipality to respect Lake Massawippi is creating an anger that cannot be appeased without action.. »

Michèle Gérin, general manager, Blue Massawippi

photo : Alain Roberge, La Presse

PRESS REVIEW : ABOUT the Sring Sprint


Annick Drouin, Biologist, Ph. D. – Aquatic Invasive Species
Aquatic Wildlife Expertise Branch
at the MFFP is a leader of the scientific committee.

At the first dive on Monday morning. The equipment takes up as much space as the divers, surface assistants and captain.

François Vanasse, president of the Eastern Townships chapter of the Fédération des chasseurs pêcheurs du Québec, gave his time and lent his pontoon. Thank you! 

The support and action of the municipalities is the cornerstone of our eventual success. Thank you Hélène Daneau and Marcella Gerrish.

Daily safety meeting and dive plan before departure.

Some partners provide equipment and volunteers. On the picture the MFFP at the North Hatley ramp.

Julian Wilson is a scientific diver from Les Escoumins who offered his week at Lake Massawippi.

Traditional Thursday evening gathering in Pilsen before diving one last time on Friday.


The Blue Massawippi team has the privilege of seeing the NATURAL beauty of the lake and its watershed up close, and wishes to share it. 

Nest of  Canada geese in the Hatley marsh.

Spotted by our biologists Vincent and Camille, a nest that promises 8 more geese ... unless a predator changes the deal.

Very nice Spring picture.


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