Mississippi Lake is unique among lakes in eastern Ontario. It is less than an hour's drive from downtown Ottawa, the nation's capital. It is easily accessible for city-dwellers with cottages on the lake and increasingly, an easy commute for year-round residents. From the hustle and amenities of a major Canadian city to the primitive call of the loon is a short distance in time-travel. The town of Carleton Place, which sits at the outflow of the lake, offers a public boat launch; the gateway to more than eight miles of boating and fishing pleasure.
Once noted for its Pickerel/Walleye population, Mississippi Lake is now noted as a preferred destination for the skilled bass angler. The Mississippi is also home to a number of environmentally significant wetlands, a bird sanctuary and a bald eagle nesting site. In the early spring and late fall, many migratory waterfowl species, who spend their summers in the far north, stop over on Mississippi Lake to rest and fill up on small fish. Loons are a common sight throughout the open-water season. Because of their fragile reproductive habits, their numbers are closely watched. Boaters are reminded to steer clear of nesting areas and avoid creating wake near shore.
The proximity and the scale of human development to this natural environment challenges us to find a balance between our desire to experience the natural beauty of the lake and its fragile ecosystem. When we make our homes next to the lake, we need to be conscious of how we design and build them. We need to understand that everything we use and apply on our properties, is eventually washed into the lake with rain and snow runoff.
When we build or renovate, our local municipalities, in consultation with the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority will review our plans and approve or recommend changes. The standards imposed are there to protect the environment and to ensure the safety of the residents in the flood plain which presents unique planning challenges. A happy overall benefit is that this process protects our property values by preventing development or abuse that would negatively impact the lake. Before undertaking any work around the shore, or to make enquiries, these are the key agencies and authorities to contact:
Read the MVCA Policy Document; then
Contact the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVC) for intial guidance; and
Contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) if your project involves in-water construction.