Lake Clear biomonitoring

Its surface area is 17.4 km², however due to its irregular shape, Lake Clear has the second longest shoreline at 46.4 km. Its deepest point is 46m, with the average depth of approximately 20m. Creeks running into Lake Clear include Kregurs, Neilan and Rodden, and the lake is connected to the Bonnechere River though Hurd’s Creek.

Macroinvertebrate data is analysed using EcoSpark's Water Quality Monitoring with Benthic Macroinvertebrates protocol and the Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network (OBBN) protocol.  Refer to RiverWatch Report 2010 for study details.
In the summers of 2009 and 2010 BRWP staff guided by local lake residents visited Lake Clear to assess Kregurs, Neilan, Rodden and Hurds creeks.  Water chemistry was also sampled at seven sites along the southern shoreline, Mud Lake, and Green Island.  An attempt was made to gather samples that represented as much of the lake as possible, however, due to lake size and time restraints some areas were missed.

The Lake Clear monitoring was part of BRWP's RiverWatch program to investigate the current ecological health of the Bonnechere River watershed via citizen‐based science using biomonitoring, physical chemical testing, and shoreline/stream bank visual assessments.

Lake Clear - Hurds Creek monitoring results:
  1. The monitoring of Lake Clear and the water flowing into it should only be viewed as supportive data for assessing the quality of water flowing out of  Hurds Creek into the Bonnechere River.  (RiverWatch's primary focus was to assess the quality of water from all streams flowing directly into the Bonnechere)
  2. The biomonitoring of streams flowing into the lake and analysis of water chemistry indicates "good" water quality.
  3. A good baseline biomonitoring database has been established for Neilen, Kruger and Hurds creeks and follow-up assessments on a 5 year cycle would build a credible database.  
  4. Rodden creek, which has the largest stream catchment area flowing into the lake, biomonitoring wasn't done because of technical and time constraints.  Chemical analysis of Rodden Creek didn't identify any problem but further analysis is required to establish a credible baseline. (to be acted upon in RiverWatch 2011)
  5. Water chemical analysis at all sites provided a database only for mid-summer conditions and should be compared with spring and autumn measurements to established an accurate baseline.  If this occurs and no problems identified then it could become the basis for a 5 year monitoring cycle.  (to be acted upon in RiverWatch 2011)
References:

Neilan Creek Biomonitoring Results



  • Current Status: Good
  • Coordinates (dd): 45.44229, ‐77.23895
  • Stream Order: 3
  • River Reach: 5
  • Catchment Area: 6.6 km²
Description
Neilan Creek was sampled on the upstream side of Lake Clear Rd as it bisects two cottage properties. 

Substrate ranged from sand to cobble, and the water temperature was rather cool. There was severe undercutting on both of the banks, as deep as 0.75m.  

The right bank had a manicured lawn right to the edge of the creek, and the left bank had about a half meter of riparian vegetation which consisted mainly of tall grasses and meadow vegetation. There were a few sparse clusters of small deciduous trees along the right bank. 

Between the last two transects, there was shrubby vegetation on both sides of the creek including Red Osier Dogwood. The only in‐stream vegetation found in this creek was algae attached to some downed woody debris near the midway point in the sample site. Several large crayfish were spotted at this site, and neighbours verified that they have been commonly found here for generations.

BMI Results:

Worm

Midge

Sowbug

Snail

Number of Taxa

Dominant Taxon

EPT

Diptera

Insect

HBI

Status

2009

2010

NOT SAMPLED



BMI Results (● = Good, ● = Fair, ● = Poor)

Assessment Details
The two indices that were of most concern from the data collected during this sample were Dominant Taxon and Diptera. Dominant Taxon was quite high; however the taxon was mayflies, which is common and not a sign of poor site quality. Diptera was considerably low at this site, however because the sample was counted by new volunteers, small benthos such as the larvae of midges, blackflies, and mosquito, can be easily missed. The Insect Index was also slightly higher than the desired range, but that is related to the high mayfly count. The high presence of stoneflies at this site also indicates considerably good health. Due to the size of this creek and its catchment area, it was decided that re‐sampling in 2010 was not a high priority for Neilan Creek, and therefore only data from 2009 is existent.  Though the health rating is ‘Fair’, this site was just shy of a ‘Good’ rating. Riparian planting is suggested for this site.



Kregur's Creek Biomonitoring Results


  • Current Status: Good
  • Coordinates (dd): 45.41624, ‐77.19850
  • Stream Order: 2
  • River Reach: 5

Description

Kregur’s Creek appears to be a mostly undisturbed site. It runs in a gully beside a church and a small graveyard, perpendicular to Opeongo Road. 

Upon both visits the water was cool, clear and appeared rather clean. The culvert upstream of the site was about 1‐1.5m above the creek bed, and as it traveled down the site, the creek continued to step down gradually. An old farm fence crossed the creek at the bottom of the site, but it was high enough off the ground that it did not appear to affect the health of the site.


Flora on the banks of the creek ranged from forest to scrub, and held a complex vegetative community of deciduous and coniferous trees as well as ferns, mosses and lichen. 

In‐stream vegetation was mostly absent, aside from the odd arrowhead.  

Wildlife observed included a large blue spotted salamander, leopard frogs, and minnows.

BMI Results:

Worm

Midge

Sowbug

Snail

Number of Taxa

Dominant Taxon

EPT

Diptera

Insect

HBI

Status

2009

2010

BMI Results (● = Good, ● = Fair, ● = Poor)

Assessment Details
In 2009, the sample seemed to have a slight imbalance between insects (too many) and dipterans (too few). This imbalance was minor and by 2010, insects fell into the proper range, and diptera improved slightly. These numbers could very well fluctuate from sample to sample, and year to year.  The midge count was only slightly out of the desired range in 2009, and in the 2010 count, fell into the desired range. Also, the Hilsenhoff result was well in the desired range. The suspended culvert at the end of the site may inhibit movement of fish within this creek. Overall, it is felt that the sample
counting for this creek was greatly improved with the use of the Marchant box in 2010. It is especially pleasing to see the improved status of Kregur’s Creek as there has been recent construction carried out on Opeongo Road directly above this site.



HURD’S CREEK Biomonitoring Results 

Augsburg Rd (site A)


  • Current Status: Fair
  • Coordinates (dd): 45.539890, ‐77.121439
  • Stream Order: 5
  • River Reach: 5

Description

The Augsburg Road site was sampled in both 2009 and 2010. From 2009 to 2010, the flow rate and level of the water had dropped. Substrate at this site mostly consisted of boulders and cobble with some sand and silt on the banks. Slightly cream coloured foam on the bank near the riffle area indicated high levels of organic nutrients.  An old rusty metal pipe was found in the stream bed.  Vegetation in the stream included sedges, narrow and broad leaf emergents, and spongy algae found on the rocks. The banks were lined with Eastern White Cedars, some grassy vegetation, ferns and lillies. Wildlife present here included frogs, ducks, fish and song birds. Various flying insects such as dragonfly, damselfly, mayfly and stonefly were seen in abundance.

.

Lake Clear (site B)


  • Current Status: Fair
  • Coordinates (dd): 45.464254, ‐77.211906
  • Stream Order: 4
  • River Reach: 5
Description
The Lake Clear site was sampled in 2010 only. This site at the first bend in the creek (x in the above photo) was very wide and quite deep (refer to 4th slide in the Hurds Creek video). Substrate was very silty and had high organic matter content. Woody debris was abundant in the water. Cedar trees lined the banks, and provided shade near the shoreline. Aquatic vegetation included pond lilies, pond weed, cat tails and milfoil.

BMI Results:

Worm

Midge

Sowbug

Snail

Number of Taxa

Dominant Taxon

EPT

Diptera

Insect

HBI

Status

A 2009

A 2010

B 2009

NOT SAMPLED

B 2010

BMI Results (● = Good, ● = Fair, ● = Poor)

Assessment Details
The Augsburg Road site had some similar results in 2009 and 2010, but worm, midge, and insect readings were more outside of the desired range in 2010 than in 2009. This
may have been related to the lower flow and depth of the creek in 2010, but it may
also have been the result of more accurate counting (counting more of the smaller
benthos such as worms and midges). 

The Lake Clear site was somewhat similar to Augsburg, however the HBI was higher, and therefore the sample contained more specimens with higher tolerance to poorer condition. This site is much deeper and wider than Augsburg with less oxygen entering the slower moving water, which may have affected the results. However due to the number of indices outside the ‘Good’ range, this site has been deemed ‘Fair’.

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