On Friday, September 22 the North Bay- Parry Sound District Public health unit issued a blue-green algae warning for Eagle Lake. The full advisory can be found here.
Photo of blue gree algae taken from Eagle Lake in the Fall of 2017.
The water was tested by the Ministry of the Environment and blue-green algae bacteria was found. Chunks of algae ranging in size from small peas to bread plates have been seen floating in and out of Angus Bay and Mikisew Provincial park. Toxins were not present at the time of testing but with the very warm weather it is likely that the algae came in bloom. The Health Unit will not re-test the water again this year.
In subsequent phone calls, the public health unit advised us that to be safe, no one on the lake should be ingesting water or using it for cooking. Do not eat fish from the lake. The bacteria can be spread throughout the lake by the wind moving the water around. Boiling the water does not kill the toxins.
Swimming, bathing and showering in lake water should be avoided especially in the south basin.
We have been told that algae can survive cold winter temperatures so it is not clear when the water will be safe again. Blue green algae has been seen in other lakes under the ice.
A few years ago, when the lake water was tested by the association, the clarity was six metres. There has been obvious deterioration as the clarity is now only two metres.
Management of blue-green algae is a complex issue and requires the participation of all the lake residents. The Eagle Lake Association is looking into how best to control it for future years.
Algae is caused by the use of fertilizers, shampoo, bathing in the lake and faulty septic systems. With all the rain we’ve experienced this summer there has been a lot of run off into the lake. Please do not use fertilizers, bath in the lake, and, consider testing your septic system. We all need to work together to manage this very disturbing development. There were some sightings of algae in August 2016 but it wasn’t in bloom. Because of this no warning was issued. We have been told that algae is generally worse when the weather is warm. So warmer summers in the future may trigger algae earlier in the prime cottage season.
We all love this lake so let’s all do our parts to protect the lake.
We will investigate best practices for remediation and report back to everyone later this fall.
Please feel free to use our Contact page if you would like to reach out to the association directly.
Michael Mitchell, President
Eagle Lake Conservation Association.