Eganville – As silt continues to pile up in the creek between Little Lake Clear and Lake Clear, plans for dredging are on indefinite hold.
“Even if we do dredging between the two lakes it will be a snowball effect down the creek,” Bonnechere Valley Works Supervisor Jason Zohr told a committee meeting of council recently.
He pointed out the area from Little Lake Clear to Manning Road is very flat and full of sand.
“It is still going to hold it back,” he said.
Councillor Merv Buckwald questioned the option of suction instead of dredging.
“Would that make it more environmentally acceptable?” he asked.
Mr. Zohr said he is still trying to find out more information. In his report to council, he said he was told by staff at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry that dredging could potentially have a significant environmental impact on sensitive fisheries in the lake.
“They are worried about certain species in the lake because the lake has low oxygen levels,” he said.
“Due to the impact, there would have to be an evaluation done before anything were to move forward with dredging,” he said.
The issue of dredging or suction also has the problem of where the material would be taken, he said.
“The shoreline around the lake is so shallow,” he said. “We would not be able to just push the sand or shoot the sand onto the shoreline.”
Councillor Tim Schison said the sediment is looking for a natural way to come in.
“For the most part, nature dictates the path taken,” he said.
“There is so much sediment and also sticks mixed together in that alley, I don’t know if nature can do anything with it,” he said.
This a very bendy corridor which allows for places to plug up, he noted.
Coun. Buckwald said Lake Clear has lost a lot of shoreline over the years.
“When I was going, there were boathouses between Lake Clear Road and the lake,” he said. “The shoreline was 50 feet out. All that had to go somewhere.”
The township has put a lot of work into the area because of this erosion, he added.
“That is why we put the rock in there,” he said. “It was going to erode the road.”
The last time the creek was dredged was in the 1950s, Mr. Zohr said.
Councillor Jack Roesner said this is becoming a problem at the lake.
“It’s coming to the point where we are starting to see significant increases each year,” he said. “It is going to back up.”
He suggested staff continue to look into options.
Mr. Zohr said while he has been in touch with Renfrew Power Generation (RPG), they will not assist in this. He also told council staff at RPG said the Lake Clear water levels are currently 27 centimetres below the licensing levels.
“We need to continue to look into things,” Mayor Jennifer Murphy said.
She also questioned if the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is concerned about downstream habitats because of this issue.
“Every time you touch one point of a water system, you are impacting another point,” Coun. Schison noted.
The back up of water at the Petawawa River a few years ago was such an issue that the Remax Building was lost as much of the riverbank crumbled, he added.
Coun. Buckwald said something will have to be done with this issue.
“We should be on the lookout for any provincial or federal money coming up,” he said.
In his report to council Mr. Zohr recommend no action be taken about dredging but staff would continue to monitor the water levels.
Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader