August 25, 2022, Westport, Ontario – Members of the Farren Lake Property Owners Association (FLPOA) and their families knew fish homes were disappearing on their lake and that they had to take action.
“Our cottage has been in the family for 58 years, since the mid 1960’s,” says Paul Seidl, FLPOA Board member (Director). “I have practically grown up on Farren Lake. Over the years, the lake has seen an increase in shoreline development. Many cottagers remove debris from their shoreline area not understanding the long-term impacts this has on the lake. Compared to the past, our lake’s water quality has deteriorated, resulting in lower dissolved oxygen levels, higher phosphorous levels, and warmer water temperatures. The lake is not as healthy as it once was.”
Paul knew something had to be done. Having attended webinars by Watersheds Canada during the pandemic, Paul learned about the free Fish Habitat Restoration Toolkit that was produced by Watersheds Canada and the Lanark County Stewardship Council. One of the fish habitat projects highlighted in the Toolkit is ‘In-Water Brush Piles’. Equipped with this information and the assurance that Watersheds Canada could help with the project, Paul was able to mobilize his lake community to take action. He first presented this project at Farren Lake’s 2021 annual general meeting and the majority of members were in favour of introducing this initiative.
Fast forward to August 9, 2022 and 18 volunteers and Watersheds Canada staff were together on Farren Lake to build 29 new fish homes made of branches and root balls. These brush piles were deployed at 10 locations on the lake. They will become underwater woody debris areas that provide excellent habitat for fish like smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, sunfish, and yellow perch, and other wildlife including turtles, birds, and invertebrates. These natural areas provide protection from predators and the sun, as well as a spot to rest, spawn, and feed.
“Congratulations to all of the volunteers who care enough about the health of their lake to help deliver Watersheds Canada’s fish habitat program,” said Robert Pye, Executive Director of Watersheds Canada. “I, along with my Watersheds Canada colleagues, were proud to work shoulder-to-shoulder with Farren Lake property owners as part of this inspiring fisheries improvement project. This Farren lake initiative represents lake stewardship as demonstrated by volunteer commitments of time, donations and sweat equity through hands-on conservation work.”
In partnership with grassroots organizations and local volunteers, Watersheds Canada has completed many fish habitat restoration projects across Eastern and Central Ontario over the past nine years, including walleye spawning bed enhancements, cold-water creek enhancements, trout spawning bed enhancements, and in-water habitat enhancements through the deployment of brush piles (woody debris). 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 non-profit charitable organization that works with landowners, communities, students, 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/
Communications and Fundraising Manager