At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on July 13, 2019, following a lengthy discussion, a motion was passed to create a discussion forum topic whereby LMAA members can submit their name, location on the lake, and the issue(s) they are having as a result of lake water levels and resulting stream flow volume in the Manitou River.
Please respond by October 31, 2019. LMAA will collate all comments received and summarize the issues. We will then send another letter to the MNRF and see where that takes us.
NOTE: LMAA letters to MNRF and their response to LMAA are available for your review. Please click the link below to see our most recent entry to the LMAA News Blog.
History about this issue:
In April, 2016, a letter from the President of LMAA was sent to MNRF. Text from that letter is shown below:
April 18, 2016
Mr. Brian Riche
Resources Management Supervisor
Sudbury District Office 3767
Hwy 69 S Suite 5
Sudbury ON P3G 1E7
cc. Corinne Nelson
Regional Director North East Region MNRF
Ontario Government Complex Wing A 5520
Highway 101 E. P. O. Box 3020
South Porcupine ON P0N 1H0
My name is Mike Costigan and I am President of the Lake Manitou Area Association on Lake Manitou, Manitoulin Island.
At our last AGM on July 11, 2015 in Sandfield, we were asked by some members to inquire into the drastic water fluctuations in Lake Manitou and the Manitou River.
We, as directors, know very little about the science and the running of the Sandfield Dam. We were unable to answer the members’ questions.
Some History of our Organization
Our group was organized in 1993 with 24 members and has grown to 235 members. We include permanent residents and part time residents living on the lake and river.
Our main concern is the preservation of the quality and quantity of the water in Lake Manitou and the Manitou River which flows out of this lake. Our volunteers have been part of the Lake Partners Program of Water Quality & Monitoring, providing nutrient and water clarity data since 1995. We collect water samples once every month for six months during the ice-free season in two locations in the lake. As well, we observe the clarity of the water using a secchi disk . The samples and disk readings are sent to the Dorset Environmental Science Centre Water Chemistry Laboratory where they are analyzed and recorded. In this way, emerging issues can be identified before damage is irreversible. As you can see, our group has been involved in Lake Manitou Stewardship for 23 years.
These are some of the questions, suggestions and observations that were brought to our attention at our 2015 AGM.
1. In the Fall, many salmon from Lake Huron use the Manitou River for spawning, but they are unable to get up the falls because of low water levels. We cannot understand why the flow of water needs to change suddenly & drastically, rather than being adjusted more gradually. As a result of this, we wish to ask a few questions:
A. Why do several logs need to be removed at one time, allowing all three sluice-ways to run freely? Could the removal of the logs be spread out over a longer period, resulting in a more even flow of water in the river and a more consistent lake level? Would half or quarter logs help with controlling the water level more effectively?
B. Could the weather conditions, amount of snowfall, thickness of ice on the lake and long range weather forecasts be considered starting in January? Then adjustments of water levels could be made gradually over a longer period.
2. Are there guidelines in place now, to be followed? If so, do they need to be revised to better suit the weather conditions of today?.
We realize that regulating a dam is not an easy task. But it is an important one. There are many contributing factors to be considered in coming to a suitable solution. There are the needs of the residents living on the lake and on the river, the desires of sportsmen whose passion is fishing and the economic benefits that follow that sport. Then, there are the needs of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for the annual lake trout egg collection in the fall and the supply of sufficient water for the raising of pickerel in the Sandfield Fish Ponds during the summer.
Brian, we, the Directors of LMAA, would like to meet with you some time in July or August to learn about and discuss water levels.
(Note: The months of July & August are when I can have some Directors available.)
Mike Costigan Sr., President of LMAA
In response to this letter, LMAA Board members met with Paul Methner, Operations Coordinator, Blue Jay Creek Fish Culture Station on August 12, 2016.
Attached are the 1991 guidelines for operation of the Sandfield Dam, provided by Mr. Methner at that meeting.