By Chad Ingram
It was down, now it’s up.
Not so many weeks ago, water levels throughout the county were incredibly low, courtesy of an early spring freshet coupled with a long drought. Now, after some substantial rain, they’re up, way up in some cases, including instances of submerged docks.
Fluctuating water levels are part of life in Haliburton County, especially due to the fact that a number of its larger lakes are part of the feeder system for the massive Trent-Severn Waterway.
As a young kid, I understood that the beach at the cottage “went out.” In the spring, there was no beach to speak of. By the end of the summer, there was 15 or 20 feet of it. As I got a bit older, I understood why.
Living in Haliburton County means we talk a lot about water, sometimes griping about it, but ultimately the county’s abundance of water is something to be immensely grateful for. In some way or another, it’s the reason we’re all here.
If you are a longtime local, a descendent of one of the county’s settler families, it’s a near certainty that at some point in time, members of your family were employed by the lumber industry. How were those logs transported? By water, floated through the county’s lakes and rivers. In the case of my family’s cottage, my great-grandfather was an avid fisherman who began travelling from Unionville to fish in Halls Lake in the 1920s, eventually purchasing a piece of land and building a cabin. If you are a new seasonal resident, you almost certainly bought your cottage to live on the water’s edge. Maybe you kayak or canoe or fish or wakeboard or water ski. Maybe you just like the ambiance, the call of the loons.
The county’s lakes are everything, absolutely everything; the foundation of its history, and the source of its future. That’s why the work around lake health the county and its municipalities have undertaken in recent years – from septic re-inspections to the county’s tree-cutting bylaw to the upcoming shoreline preservation bylaw – is so critically important. It’s critical that this work continues, and that residents understand why it’s happening.
If you are unaware of the basic science of lake health, read about it. Understand the dangers of phosphorous loading. Understand the importance of the deep root systems of native vegetation. Understand how decaying branches and other organic matter put much-needed calcium back into the water. Find out what daphnia are, and what they do.
The county’s lakes are everything, absolutely everything. It’s up to all of us to collectively protect them.