Divers from Waterway preparing for their dive.

Richard Lake Stewardship Committee says thank you


We would like to mention and say thank you to the Mine mill Campground & Committees for the donation of their facilities; to Waterway Scuba Divers who yearly come out and volunteer their time to remove any debris from the lake bottom; A&M Reforestation for their donation of trees to the residents & community and finally a big hand to the Lilly Creek Blues Grass Band who will be entertaining the crowds. Over 100 sponsors have been very generous in helping make this day a successful one. The kids program thrives and grows increasingly more successful.

By teaching these children about our environment it teaches the young to protect their watershed.

We would like to bring attention to Lake Quality Program that has given a grant to allow us to educate our community and public with good stewardship practices and guardianship of our lake and the Panache Watershed. Without this program, this event will not be possible.

Thank you to Doug Craig for the donation to help us continue practicing these good stewardship partnerships as residents and a community.

The committee this year has been involved with Earth Day where almost one ton of garbage was extracted from our wetland and ditches that included 16 rubber tires, propane tanks, and construction pylons. (see picture attached) The Richard Lake Stewardship have planted over 150 trees that were generously donated by A&M Reforestation.

By working in conjunction with various organizations, programs and campgrounds, we have been successful to educate the campers, boaters and recreational enthusiasts about our wildlife habitat and protect it from the unnecessary damage. It makes us proud to see the Loon Watch being respected amongst our community.

We ask if the public would like to view more about the Richard Lake Stewardship to view our website at www.richardlake2005.tripod.ca or email us at richardlake@knet.ca.

Richard Lake healthy, but still in a fragile state; 'It's a beautiful lake, a beautiful spot and we'd like to keep it that way'

Carol Mulligan

The mood was light and breezy at the Richard Lake Stewardship Committee's barbecue and lake cleanup Sunday, but the message was serious.

The health of the south-end lake is good now, but it will take everyone's efforts to maintain that balance.

"It's a beautiful lake, a beautiful spot and we'd like to keep it that way," said committee member Brenda Polano.

"It's a fragile lake, though, and that could change. It's fairly healthy, but it could go either way. It wouldn't take much."

The stewardship committee held its third annual picnic at Mine Mill Campground on Richard Lake to remind their neighbours of the delicate balance when it comes to water quality.

Richard Lake is at the top of the Panache Watershed, which connects Daisy, McFarlane, Long Lake and Little Panache underground. Its stewardship committee has adopted the slogan Guardians of the Watershed.

Committee member Jackie Cieslewicz said the purpose of the third annual event was to make people aware of what's going on with the lake and encourage good stewardship practices.

Richard Lake residents were alarmed to learn last fall the lake had been invaded by Eurasian milfoil, an aggressive submerged aquatic plant that spreads both sexually from seed and asexually from stem fragments.

It grows quickly and can produce a dense mat of vegetation that blocks sunlight for plants below the surface.

"Some people coming in fishing aren't washing their boats," she said, "and are bringing in foreign vegetation and animals."

There are about 50 houses on Richard Lake, as well as four campgrounds, said Cieslewicz, and the committee is working with everyone around the lake to promote healthy behaviour.

"Richard Lake, for us, is very important because it is our drinking water; it is our bathing water," she said.

"It's a beautiful lake. To me, it's one of the best lakes."

Members of Water Ways Scuba School dove into the waters of Richard Lake to gather cast-off items, such as tires, beer bottles, foam, wood and other trash.

Diver Claude Bisson said he found pipes sticking out at an angle from the bottom of the lake that could hurt anyone who swims near them, but he wasn't able to remove them.

In past years, divers have found stoves and other items at the bottom that are too heavy for them to retrieve. Last year, a couple of divers did surface with a kitchen table and chairs.

Polano said committee members and volunteers got busy on Earth Day in April and collected 750 kilograms of trash from wetlands and ditches in the area, including 16 rubber tires, propane tanks and construction pylons.

People who attended this year's picnic and fun day enjoyed music by the Lilly Creek Bluegrass Band, hot dogs and hamburgers, children's games, a fish pond, penny tables and draws.

In keeping with the theme, committee members distributed free bags of organic fertilizer and brochures outlining how to be good stewards of the lake.

Residents are encouraged to use low-phosphorous soaps, limit the use of pesticides near the lake, use organic fertilizers and not to throw items into the water.

"People throw stuff in there thinking it will sink and be hidden," said Cieslewicz, but it degrades the quality of the lake nonetheless.