Our History

On July 17, 2019, led by Dr Gary Bota, a group of lakefront residents concerned about Nepahwin Lake’s water quality met with the City of Greater Sudbury (CGS) Watershed Advisory Panel. Residents' concerns were substantiated by data provided in a July 2019 Water Quality Summary Report for Nepahwin Lake prepared by the CGS Lake Water Quality Program.

 

The report revealed that:

  • Spring phosphorus levels over the past 10 years indicated Nepahwin Lake was experiencing a statistically significant increasing trend of total Phosphorus , and in the past 2 years had almost reached or surpassed the Provincial Water Quality Objective of 20 ug/L.

  • Spring chloride levels over the past two years (sampling started in 2018) indicated levels above the Canadian Water Quality Guideline to protect aquatic life of <120 mg/L.

Dr John Gunn, Director of the Vale Living with Lakes Centre provided the following context to the group:

  • Increased phosphorus and chloride is often an indicator of increasing urbanization in a watershed.

  • Lakes with phosphorus levels >20ug/L are considered eutrophic, usually exhibiting low water clarity and abundant aquatic plant (including algae) growth.

    • Past and present soil and fertilizer runoff have contributed to the increasing phosphorus levels.

  • Chloride levels >120 mg/L can cause a decline in zooplankton, a significant group of microscopic organisms that graze on algae.

    • The application of road salt for snow and ice control is a major contributor to chloride levels.

  • Combine fewer algae grazers with current phosphorus levels and increasing water temperatures due to climate change, and it’s the perfect combination for increased algae blooms (including blue-green algae), beach closures and poor-quality shorelines.

Dr Gunn described Nepahwin Lake as at a “tipping point”. Responding to this ‘call to action’ and building on the efforts of previous Nepahwin Lake Stewards, the Nepahwin Lake Stewardship Committee (NLSC) was formed on July 31, 2019.

​In January 2020, the NLSC was approached by Greg Dalton; Chair, Friends of Bennett Lake (FOBL). FOBL had been instrumental in achieving the re-zoning of ~5 acres of shoreline on Bennett Lake (a headwater lake to Nepahwin Lake) to an Open Space Conservation Area under CGS bylaw. It was agreed that a future integrated approach to watershed stewardship would be optimal; and the NLSC was renamed to Nepahwin Lake Watershed Stewardship Group.