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MYSTERIOUS AND COMPLEX

WATERSHED

Does this picture, taken on Friday, remind you of anything? From the top of Brown's Hill Road in Ayer's Cliff, we can see the magnitude of the task: Pierre and Julie are somewhere in these trees looking for what's wrong with Brown's Hill Creek (see below, "Brown's Hill Creek concerns") ...

Of course, this last weekly newsletter of summer 2021 marks the departure of the last employees of our busy summer season. So is this the end of our efforts? Not yet. We continue our work this fall for the final stretch into winter; an opportunity to get to the bottom of the issues that continue, winter and summer, with added surprises, and new and old projects that will be ending or renewing in a few days.

As a review, there will be the annual general meeting (see below, September 25, 2021) and the newsletter of October 10, 2021 (Thanksgiving).

In the meantime, let's see how thirsty this watershed is.

WATER PLEASE!

HELP! We are running out of air ...

The recurring August heat wave has made vacationers happy, but the lake and its tributaries unhappy. The streams are dry and the level of the lake, kept remarkably stable by the magic of a well managed dam, has been dropping visibly for a few days. We need rain soon. Today. Tomorrow. And for a few days more. Otherwise, the consequences are inevitable. In fact, we can already see them happening. Thousands of fish are seriously short of air and space, trapped in streams that no longer flow. Climate change is here.

This huge, completely dry culvert in McConnell Creek is a demonstration of the disparity between the current situation and what is normal.

Naturally, a stream is in balance with its environment and the climate. Extreme conditions pose a serious threat to that balance.

The decrease in water volume due to the combined effects of heat and lack of rain concentrates contaminants in the ponds. The photo shows hydrocarbon residues in blue. In the event of a sudden downpour, the pollutants will break away from the now impermeable soil and make their way to the lake.

Video: Dryness, fish and wildlife (50 sec.)

What to learn from the video?

The river basins fill up with animals (fish, minnows, salamander larvae, frogs, etc.). As the water level decreases, the living space also decreases. Species that normally avoid each other have no choice but to live together.

With the lack of flow, the water temperature increases. Since cold water contains more gases than warm water (e.g. oxygen), the drier it gets, the less oxygen the pond water contains, which is essential for life.

And the animals in the ponds become very easy prey for their predators.

WHERE DO WE WORK IN THE WATERSHED?

Each of the yellow flags represents a landmark identified by our SOS Tributaries team experts. These points are photographed and notes are taken for analysis.

From the first dump found on Leslie Creek in Canton-de-Hatley to the pile of garbage along the banks of Brown's Hill Creek in Ayer's Cliff, our team has seen many more.

To date, 68 km of shoreline have been analyzed on both sides of the 6 brooks (pictures above).

On for surface area, we are talking about of nearly 100 km2 of watershed that is surveyed and documented in the 5 lakeshore municipalities and, in the case of McConnell Creek, partially in the territory of the City of Magog.

In addition, Ian Ruttenberg has been monitoring 40 sites since May in the more extended watershed of Barnston West, Stanstead East and Stanstead.

 

THIS MONDAY, MISSION WATERSHED

Hoping that the grey skies will turn into real rain that will continue into tomorrow, 5 teams under the direction of Pierre Simard will be deployed at the same time to collect water from 70 sites spread out at pre-established strategic points (red points on the map above). This operation requires a good preparation and precise coordination considering the importance of the territory to be covered efficiently and simultaneously by our teams.

As shown on the McConnell Creek map, a creek is not only its main channel, but a formidable network of veins with complex branches over several km, often in the middle of the forest. Several other similar maps will allow the team to cover the entire territory at the same time and under the same conditions.

BROWN'S HILL CREEK CONCERNS

PERMANENT DELINQUENT, WHAT'S WRONG WITH BROWN'S HILL CREEK?

Last Friday, our field crew was walking along Brown's Hill Creek. We know something is not right. Four samplings, four failures. Unacceptable contaminant levels every time. What is the problem at Brown's Hill?

Agriculture? Not so sure, the water looks better on the way up. It's towards the village that it goes wrong.

 

Blurred water, urban crossing, Brown's Hill is a conundrum we will solve. The Ayer's Cliff Pond provides a lot of water flow, it is the only segment that is not yet suffering from the dryness. We'll have to do more analysis there to learn more.

It's a safe bet that the Brown's Hill problem is more in Ayer's Cliff Village than in agriculture. We will see.

THIS WEEK

We never get used to saying goodbye to young people who have given the best of what they are, and who have left a positive mark on the summer of Blue Massawippi.

On Friday, Naomi left. A remarkable example of balance, Naomi found her place, well beyond our expectations.

Exceptional photographer, impeccable translator, document preparation, social media, videomontages, Naomi is largely responsible for Blue Massawippi's best ever visual communication.
Thank you Naomi, and have a great school year!

Blue-green algae still under close watch.

The major bloom in the very vulnerable Baltimore Bay continued on Sunday and Monday.

No big alert since then, but scattered filaments in several locations. The water temperature rose to 26 on Wednesday. We were asked a lot about the location of Baltimore Bay: it is 4 km from North Hatley, just past Black Point.

At Lake Magog, free boat wash makes a difference

Back from their 3 days at the Deauville boat wash station, our patrollers are certain: the free service changes the game. It's not the wash that paddleboarders and kayakers fear when they try to get away, it's the rates.

As soon as we tell them it's free, the reluctance goes away ­čśÄ! An idea to be developed to promote ecologically responsible access to lakes.

Public consultation

The Memphremagog MRC adopted its second draft of the Land Use Planning and Sustainable Development Plan on June 16. A consultation is underway. For more information see:

MRC PUBLIC CONSULTATION (French only)

Blue Massawippi will be filing written comments next week.

NATURE BREAK

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.

Just because it's pretty, doesn't mean it's good.

Common reed (phragmites) is the most aggressive invasive species available. It fills ditches and shorelines without care. It may look pretty to you. Make no mistake: It is destroying our native plants. Notice the edges of highways, marshes, ditches ... common reed is everywhere. Don't make it your centerpiece for pity's sake. Don't spread this invasive devil!

BLUE Massawippi PRESS REVIEW 

 

La Tribune de Sherbrooke August 27, 2021 (French only)

Des alertes sont n├ęcessaires, croit Bleu Massawippi  

ELECTIONS: MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD, VOTE NOW 

The polls regarding your priorities for candidates are still open, so take a minute to choose YOUR question.

To select your question for federal candidates,

CLICK HERE

 

To select your question for municipal candidates,

CLICK HERE

NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

September 25th, 2021 at 9:30 am

The meeting will be held in a hybrid mode:  in person at Massawippi College and virtually via zoom. Registration details for the virtual mode will be available in early September.

FUNDING

Want to support our efforts?

It is still possible to do it by mail. Send your check to the order of Blue Massawippi:

P.O. Box: 2703, North Hatley, QC, J0B 2C0

 

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Stay informed!

Reports, scoops and analyses every week of the summer in the newsletter.

Invite someone to follow the flow, from Ayer's Cliff to North Hatley.

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