Westport, ON – Having undertaken two fish habitat restoration projects in a twelve-month period, it is safe to say that the residents of Farren Lake are looking out for their local fish species.
In early August 2023, members of the Farren Lake Property Owners Association (FLPOA) gathered for the second time to create and deploy brush bundles on their lake. Now with both the eastern and western portions of the lake rehabilitated with underwater sticks and branches, residents of the lake can rest assured that their aquatic and amphibious neighbours will have the homes they need to survive and thrive far into the future.
The grassroots project was led and organized by a group of over 20 volunteers which included Tay Valley Township Council member Reeve Rob Rainer, families, and multi-generational cottage owners.
In total, 23 brush bundles were assembled and deployed, making for a grand total of 52 across the twelve months. These unassuming bundles of woody debris will serve as valuable habitat for the fish species in Farren Lake, which include small and largemouth bass, sunfish, northern pike, and yellow perch. These fish will carry out some of the most important aspects of their life in and around these new features, such as spawning and feeding, which will help rehabilitate and sustain populations of native species in and around their lake.
“A healthier fish population means a healthier lake”, says Paul Seidl, a Director on the FLPOA Board. “The addition of underwater wood bundles will provide excellent habitats for the wildlife in our lake including fish, turtles and other aquatic invertebrates. The FLPOA really enjoyed working alongside staff from Watersheds Canada on this important enhancement of the fish habitats in our lake.”
Though direct monitoring efforts will not be occurring until next year, the positive effects of these restoration projects were already showing. After the first project, residents of the lake observed an abundance of fish on their fish finders around areas where the bundles were deployed. These preliminary observations are not only a sign that brush bundles do work, but also serve as a reminder to all shoreline property owners to leave any woody debris where it falls in and around lakes instead of clearing it away. Lake species depend on healthy habitats on-land and in the water.
This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada, through the Environmental Damages Fund, as well as financial support from the Honda Canada Foundation. With partnerships like these, Watersheds Canada can continue delivering brush bundle projects, fish bed washing projects, and other habitat enhancement projects that will help maintain populations of native aquatic and terrestrial species for years to come.
If you think your Ontario waterfront community could benefit from a fish habitat enhancement project, please check out the free Fish Habitat Enhancement Toolkit: Watersheds.ca/download-the-fish-habitat-enhancement-toolkit/.
About Watersheds Canada
Watersheds Canada is a national charitable organization that works with landowners, communities, students, municipalities, and organizations to enhance and protect lakes and rivers through developing effective and transferable long-term solutions. Watersheds Canada envisions people caring for their waters, resulting in clean, healthy lakes and rivers to support humans and wildlife for years to come. Learn more at Watersheds.ca
About Farren Lake Property Owners Association
In the mid-1970’s, the lake formed a Cottage Property Owners Association. The mandate of the lake association is to preserve and improve water quality and to maintain and restore the shoreline environment so that Farren Lake will remain healthy for present and future generations. The FLPOA has participated in many programs that improve and monitor the water quality of the lake, including ‘Love Your Lake’, the ‘Natural Edge Program’, and annual water quality testing. Learn more: new.farrenlake.ca/wp/
About Honda Canada Foundation
Honda Canada Foundation, established in 2005, was created to support registered non-profit charities that aim to improve the lives of Canadians. Since its inception, it has helped over 6.5 million Canadian through a wide range of initiatives spanning education, engineering, family support, and environment.
About Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund
The Environmental Damages fund (EDF) is a specified purpose account administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada that directs funds towards priority projects that will benefit Canada’s natural environment. These include habitat restoration, environmental quality improvement, research and development, and education and awareness initiatives.