The Lake Plan was launched at the AGM in 2015, and is being implemented to the best of our abilities, given available resources and funding.
Please view the PROGRESS CHARTS to see what has been accomplished to date.
What is a Lake Plan?
Just as a municipality relies on an "Official Plan" to guide development and enterprise follows a "Business Plan" as a road map to growth and prosperity, the Mississippi Lake Plan sets out issues, priorities, objectives and actions aimed at protecting the lake ecosystem. Click here for more details about "What is a Lake Plan"
How can you get involved?
The Plan has a wide range of objectives, and there is sure to be some topic that could appeal to you. We enourage and value your feedback, and would be pleased to include you on the MLA team. Feel free to send us your comments and recommendations, and to contribute to our efforts!
How was the Lake Plan Developed?
The Lake Plan process involved a survey of lake residents and the general community to identify concerns and priorities. Not surprisingly, the survey identified the principal concern as water quality. Two public consultations were held to gather and process first-hand citizen opinion and experience. The Lake Plan committee was populated by MLA executive and volunteers, representatives from the municipalities of Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills and the townships of Beckwith and Drummond/North Elmsley and specialists from Watersheds Canada, the Mississippi Valley Conservation Agency, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Lanark Health.
Of significant note were the lake planning partners who helped out along the way:
What do we know about Mississippi Lake?
One of the first steps required to build a Lake Plan is to catalog everything that is currently known about the lake in question. That report for our lake is called the Mississippi Lake Today Report. The topics below are covered in the report:
- Surface Water Quality
- Aquatic Vegetation
- Land Use and Development
- Boating and Recreation
- Groundwater - Quality and Quantity
- Carleton Place Water System (Source Water Protection)
- Climate Change
The Lake Plan Mandate
The Mississippi Lake Plan sets out a number of specific goals for the Association, on behalf of the lake community, along with a commitment to work with the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, the municipalities of Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills and the townships of Beckwith and Drummond North Elmsley.
- Water Quality:
Develop a better understanding of the factors that determine water quality in the lake and watershed and recommend measures to improve and maintain clean water.
- Aquatic Vegetation:
Advocate conservation measures that balance the ecological need for aquatic vegetation with human desire for unobstructed waterways.
- Water Levels and Flooding:
Promote public awareness of the natural effects of flooding as the waterway’s method of coping with spring melt and heavy rain events, the scope of the flood plain around the watershed and the water management role of the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority.
- Natural Environment:
Maintain a healthy ecosystem for all plants and creatures that live in and around the lake, including the natural wetlands, which are essential to the health of the lake.
- Land Use and Development:
Advocate for responsible land management and development that respects the natural environment.
- Social and Recreational:
Expand the use of communications tools to build a sense of community awareness and shared responsibility for the lake environment among lake residents and users.
To see all of the actions outlined, turn to page 30 to see the Lake Plan Report summary.
Progress Charts are updated on a regular basis as the MLA pursues the implementation of the Lake Plan. Progress is assessed as a percentage of the work completed to date, in 10% steps. Further detail on progress for each part of the Plan will be announced appropriately in oue e-newsletter, and will be published in the relevant sections of the website
Lake Plan Implementation
The Mississippi Lake Plan, released in May of 2015, contained no less than 66 action items, challenging MLA members and executive, along with their partners, the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, Watersheds Canada, the towns of Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills and the townships of Beckwith and Drummond North Elmsley.
Adopting the Plan is the first major step - DONE! The next crucial step is to implement the Actions - here's how the MA is doing that:
The Board of Direcors recognized a need for a more elaborate management structure, as the scope of the Plan was much too broad for the Board to take on all intitiatives on tits own. At the 2015 AGM, members were invited to join three committees to assist the Board: Environment, Boating and Recreation, and Communications.
The Environment group has the largest portfolio, containing a majority of the Actions in the Plan. Some of these involved tasks to be undertaken in the short term. But, many are ongoing, just as the advocacy mission for the health of the lake is endless. One of the tasks undertaken in 2016 was the Love Your Lake program, which proved to be highly successful. Other initiatives are looking at the source of nutrients and elements contributed by rivers and streams in the upper watershed and the impact of septic systems. All of the action initiatives will be undertaken by volunteers, with the guidance of our science partners. The objective is to better understand the factors that influence water quality in the Mississippi waterway and to devise best practices for the future.
The Boating and Recreation group will incorporate the placement and removal of buoys during the boating season. The hazard marker buoy program was the original primary objective of the MLA, way back in 1944 no less!, and continues to be a vital partof our annual acitvities. The group will also promote boating safety and courtesy on the water, through outreach programs at community events and public launch sites. The Association has no legal jurisdiction over boating and safety and practices but it can play a significant role in education.
The Communications group took charge of all of the Association’s public information vehicles: the Mississippi Belle magazine, the website, and the Facebook site. Shortly after its first meeting, an e-newsletter, Your Mississippi Minute, was launched in September 2015. It is being used to contact upwards of 400 subscribers approximately 6 or 6 times per year, with a wide variety of evolving information and events concerning the lake community. You can receive this publication in your IN box by sending an email to the MLA. It will be the responsibility of the Communications group to engage the wider community in issues concerning the lake and water quality using its media tools and its presence at community events.
In the fall of 2015, a delegation from the Association made presentations to the town councils of Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills and the township councils of Beckwith and Drummond/North Elmsley. The purpose of these meetings was to review the key principles of the Mississippi Lake Plan, reinforcing the self-interest of the municipalities, encouraging them to incorporate key elements of the lake plan in their Official Plans and inviting them to join our task groups as we move forward, implementing the actions arising out of the document.
The team recruited to develop the Lake Plan has continued with the effort by joining the Board and other committees. Many other members have since joined us, and have contributed excellent work in developing ideas and carrying out Actions. As a result, the Mississippi Lakes Association has undergone major changes in its scope and outlook in the last two years. The Lake Plan essentially established a new "Charter" for us, and it will prove valuable over the coming years to focus our attention and resources.