FOCA Elert - October 2019


Click here to read the most recent newsletter of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers' Associations, which includes a number of articles of interest to Big Rideau Lake cottagers and boaters such as cottage closing tips, end of season updates, lake environment and public policy news. This Elert also includes information about FOCA’s upcoming seminar for Lake Associations:


FOCA Fall Seminar for Lake Associations

Saturday, November 16, 2019 - Toronto.

Receive environmental and policy updates on cottage country hot topics and emerging issues including: short-term rentals, electricity pricing, septic re-inspection programs, results of the FOCA road survey, water quality monitoring and lake stressors. Member associations: send a representative from your lake association to this gathering of peers, subject experts, the FOCA staff and Board of Directors. Find out more about the event:

Lyse PrendergastComment
RVCA - "Minor Low Water Conditions Continue in Rideau Valley Watershed"


The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority issues frequent statements about watershed conditions in the Rideau Valley area.

MOST RECENT STATEMENT:  “Despite recent cool and rainy weather, a Minor Low Water status remains in place for the Rideau Valley Watershed under the Ontario Low Water Response Program. Watershed residents and businesses are encouraged to conserve water during dry conditions” .Click here to read the full statement.

Check the RVCA website for other updates and information.

Lyse PrendergastComment
Parks Canada Water Management Update from the Rideau Canal

Please see below for the water management update from the Rideau Canal for August 20th:

“Parks Canada's water management team continues to actively monitor water levels and flows, and weather forecasts across the Rideau Canal.

Recently, Parks Canada launched the Ontario Waterways Water Management InfoNet on the Rideau Canal website at The InfoNet contains background information on water management practices, water management updates, frequently asked questions about water management, various reports on water management, and the most recent water levels of lakes along both the Rideau Canal and the Trent-Severn Waterway.

Of specific note is the water levels tool within the InfoNet which provides lake levels data from the last 30 days and graphic representation of levels for the current year. The information comes from hydrometric gauges located at key points along both waterways and is vetted by trained and experienced Parks Canada water management staff.

This information is intended as supplemental information only. Stakeholders should continue to refer to their respective Conservation Authority or the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry as the primary source for relevant flood forecasting information specific to their area.


Rainfall amounts for July have been at least 50-75 % below normal and spatially localized with the similar trends being observed for August. The 5 day forecast suggests that the above average temperatures will taper off near the end of the week and a small amount (5-10 mm) of precipitation is forecasted. Most of the rainfall which includes the recorded and forecasted is associated with thunderstorms and varies highly from one location to another.   


The ongoing hot and dry conditions for the extended period of time have resulted in lower than normal local inflows and enhanced the rates of evaporation. Persistent dryness especially in the areas that missed out on the localized precipitation continues and the overall system remains in below normal summer conditions.  Water management and operational activities are conducted to appropriately respond to the changes.

The Rideau Canal Water Management team will be actively monitoring the changing conditions. Any watershed condition updates will be released by your Conservation Authority. 

Cataraqui River

The Cataraqui River lake levels are near average but are declining due to the continued hot weather and lack of rainfall.   All draft reductions will be posted via Notice to Shipping as well as on the water management webpage (

Tay River

Bobs Lake is near average level for this time of year. Outflows from Bobs Lake are increased to compensate for the water level declines associated with enhanced evaporation rates and persistent dry conditions in river reaches and lakes downstream including the Tay River and Big Rideau Lake.

Rideau River

Water levels for  Wolfe Lake are above average, Upper Rideau Lake level is on average and Big Rideau Lake is near average level for this time of the year. Outflows from Wolfe Lake have been increased to slow the rate of decline on Upper Rideau Lake. Levels in the river from Smiths Falls to Ottawa all remain in navigation range. “

Lyse PrendergastComment
Friends of Murphy Point Park 2019 Raffle

The Friends of Murphy Point Park are holding a raffle of a birch-bark canoe to be built in the park this July by a native Canadian craftsman utilizing natural materials such as birch-bark, spruce roots and spruce gum found in and around the park. Funds raised will go towards supporting programs at the park.

To purchase tickets, contact Don at 613-273-2132.

Birch-bark canoe 2018.jpg
Update on TRL Official Plan Update Process

The Township of Rideau Lakes is embarking on a major update to its Official Plan. The purpose of the Official Plan is to ensure that future planning and development meets the community’s needs, and regular updates are required under the Planning Act. As part of this update process, there have been a number of public consultation exercises to identify what those needs are, including public meetings and surveys. The next item on this agenda is an Open House on Waterfront Development.

Open House: Waterfront Development

Friday July 12, 2019
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Portland Community Hall
24 Water Street

As part of the Community Consultation Strategy for the Official Plan Update there will be an Open House to discuss Waterfront Development on July 12, 2019 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Portland Community Hall at 24 Water Street, Portland, Ontario. This session will include topics such as fish habitat, vegetated shorelines and ensuring the water setback is consistent with the United Counties’ Official Plan. 

Any additional feedback on the Official Plan Update is welcomed at any time during or after the Open House. Please contact staff by phone, email or appointment to provide comments to help staff and Council gain a greater understanding of what you would like to see in the updated Official Plan. 

For more information on the Major Official Plan Update, to submit comments or to add your email to our notification list please contact Brittany Mulhern, Manager of Development Services at or 613-928-2251 ext. 244

The Official Plan Update Community Consultation Strategy can be found online here.

Survey #3: Resilient Communities

Deadline: Thursday, June 13

The Resilient Communities theme was identified by the public as an important topic to review as part of the Official Plan Update. This theme consists of several topics that play a role in the ability of the municipality to manage development to help our communities adapt to environmental, social, and economic changes that present new challenges to the community at large. These topics are climate change, social resiliency, the adaptive reuse of historical buildings, community improvement plans, our ability to rehabilitate contaminated lands, and environmental servicing options. This survey was created to receive public feedback on Discussion Paper #2 - Resilient Communities. A summary of the Discussion Paper can be found here

Complete the survey online here by end of day on Thursday, June 13.