Lake Clear (Buelow Rd beach)


Water quality is monitored weekly for E.coli during the swim season from early June until the end of August by the Renfrew County and District Health Unit.  E.coli is generally very low except on occasions when the large gull colony on nearby Lornie Foran island can impact water quality after heavy rain and strong on-shore wind.

The beach is 12m x 60m with a gentle sandy drop off of approximately 200m before reaching swimming depth. The sandy beach is ideal for shallow water play and swimming. There are no picnic tables or lifeguards, compost toilets are available. 


Buelow Beach water monitoring information 2014 to 2016 

As with any body of water, not only public beaches, following heavy rainfall precautions should be taken over the next 24 to 48 hours to assure a safe swimming experience.  The Buelow Rd Beach illustrates how weather can dramatically affect water quality.


A Cautionary Notice produced by Renfrew County Health and posted by BVT on Friday, August 7, 2015
















Lornie Foran Island gull colony            


Lornie Foran Island and the Public Beach are approx. 1,700' apart.



2014 test results
 
     geo mean
June 3470470 640 880 550 584.85 
June 950 70 60303045.22
June 16701020202022.37
June 25160270 210 180 160 192.05 
July 1510 10 10 10 10 10 
July 2110 30 30 20 20 20.48 
July 28 50100 7060 110 74.60 
August 640202001000100109.86
August 1110 20 70 40 20 25.69 
August 18 10 10 10 10 10 10 
August 25510470 910 560 1000 656.72 
August 2710 10 10 10 10 10 

2014 data indicates E.coli can be high even in late July and August after the gulls have left the island. The two high readings of 109.86 and 656.72 could be the result of storms washing the remaining bird excrement from the island or the presence of gulls or geese in proximity of the beach at the time of sampling the water. 

It was decided to record weather conditions when E.coli was monitored in 2015 and 2016 to determine if there is a connection between the large gull colony on the island and beach E.coli values.

2015 test results

 year
2015
sample 1sample 2sample 3sample 4sample 5E.coli geometric mean per 100 ml of waterRain at time of testingWind at time of testing
 June 1, 2015 101010 10 10  10 slight on shore breeze
 June 8, 2015 880910600 830 730 781.3 rainstrong on shore wind 
 June 11, 2015 2050 120 100 60 59.08 

 June 15, 2015 1010101050 13.8   
 June 23, 2015 660670 860880 890784.87rainstrong on shore wind 
 June 25, 2015 1010 10 10 10 10   
 June 29, 2015 1010 10 20 10 11.49   
 July 7, 2015 930910730 390670 694.38 strong on shore wind
 July 9, 2015 3010 150 130290 70.13  calm 
 July 15, 2015 2060 30 60 50 40.43heavy rain
night before
clear & calm
 July 21, 20151020 20 10 10 13.20  calm
 July 27, 201540101060 2021.69heavy raincalm
August 4, 20152010 10 10 10 11.49 heavy rain moderate on shore wind
August 11, 2015130 30 10 10 10 20.81 slight rain light on shore wind 
August 17, 201520 10 10 40 40 20heavy rain  within 72 hrs moderate waves towards shore, no gulls on beach or island 
August 25, 201530 10 19 10 10 12.46 heavy rain within 24 hrs moderate waves toward shore, no gulls on beach or island 
Sept. 1, 2015 10 10 40 10 10 13.20 light rain within 48 hrsslight breeze towards shore, no gulls on beach or island
A mix of high quality water readings marked by occasional low quality readings occurred.  The low quality water with E.coli near the 800 per 100 ml of water were occasions when there was a strong on-shore wind blowing from Lornie Foran island on a rainy day during the nesting season of June and July.

2016 test results

A similar monitoring protocol as in 2015 was used in 2016 to validate the data of 2015.

Year 2016sample 1sample 2sample 3sample 4sample 5E.coli geometric mean per 100 ml of waterRain at time of testingWing at time of testing
 May 30 480450 420 70 130  241.74.rain on preceding day on-shore wind
 June 1 30 60 50 50 90 52.66**
 June 7  50 70 50  30 40 46.18*
 June 13 10 10 10 10 10 10.00**
 June 21 20 20 40 20 40 26.39*
 June 28 10 10 30 10 10 12.46
 July 4 10 10 10 10 10 10.00**
 July 11 70 20 20 90 70 44.60**
 July 18 20 100 60 90 60 57.85

 July 26 10 10 10 10 20 11.49
 
 August 2 10 10 10 10 10 10  
 August 8 10 10 10 10 10 10  
 August 15 10 10 380 20 10 23.78  
* represents days with little or no rain two days prior to monitoring and moderate breeze on monitoring day

Conclusion
There is no doubt that seagulls or other birds can adversely affect water quality through the addition of E. coli bacteria in their droppings.. In June and until the end of July when the nesting season on the island concludes there are an abundant number of seagulls so when wind conditions are blowing from the island directly onto the beach, especially following a rainfall, it is no surprise that E.coli levels will spike. This appears to bear out in the water sampling results. This has public health significance in that when the E.coli geometric mean exceeds the provincial level the beach is posted against swimming until conditions improve. Weekly monitoring means there will be times when the E.coli might be greater than 100 E.coli/100ml of water. On August 7, 2015 a Cautionary Notice was posted describing the weather conditions that might cause an increase in the amount of E.coli.

Commonly despised as noisy despoilers of picnics, gulls are actually adept communicators, model parents, and fierce defenders of their homeland.


Things to SEE and DO - consider visiting nearby Hurds Creek, Big Rock and Lornie Foran Island


                           Hurds Creek                                                                                                                      "Big Rock", A.Y. Jackson 1961

Hurds Creek is well known for its many species of amphibians, especially large snapping turtles, and birds. Other points of interest are Lornie Foran island with its huge gull colony and "Big Rock" with its peregrine falcons and artistic features that renowned artists A.Y. Jackson and Charles Comfort once sketched from the beach area.