CCA Newsletter – Summer 2020

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The newsletter is available as a pdf download here.

Welcome to Summer!

At the time of writing this we are still very much in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic. I think we are all desperately hoping we will soon be able to enjoy the outdoors in the company of our friends and fellow cottagers. Hopefully this becomes a reality.

As an association we wanted to ensure we supported the community in which we reside and as such, have set up a relief fund for those in our community that are in great need due to Covid 19. We have focussed on the surrounding smaller towns that we as cottagers utilize often and who often receive limited funds when they need it most. Specifically, the relief fund goes to Buckhorn for their Community Care program and Food Banks in Bobcaygeon and Gooderham.

So when you renew your $30 membership online, please consider giving back to those in need in our community. We are all so fortunate to spend our time during this pandemic on beautiful Catchacoma Lake .

– – Mitty van der Velden on behalf of the Board

Newly redesigned CCA website launched in May

The CCA website has been reorganized and redesigned thanks to some of our volunteers. We will be keeping it up to date with the latest news from the lake and hope the new design makes it easier to find the information you’re looking for. On this site, you can become a CCA member or renew your membership, as well as make donations to the CCA and the CCA’s Local COVID-19 Relief Fund. Let us know what you think of the site redesign.

We are also rejuvenating our social media channels including a Facebook page and group, as well as a new Instagram account.

A Twitter mystery

A Twitter account was started in 2011 (@catchacomalake) that offers “official information from the CCA” but we haven’t been able to track down who the admins are. Here is the profile photo that was used. Does anyone recognize that view? It might provide a hint to who started the account. We’d love to hear from you if you know.


Did you know … that our lake’s buoy program is run by a group of dedicated CCA volunteers that put them in and maintain them all season long. The CCA has to purchase the buoys and the insurance to be able to keep the buoys in place and ensure safe navigation around our beautiful waters. This is just part of what your $30 membership fee helps to cover. The CCA is active in reviving the community spirit on our lake by keeping cottagers informed and connected through email blasts and website updates and fostering a healthy relationship with the town and locals. With the help of more volunteers we have run a successful DockFest event to bring cottagers together and to help generate funds to make sure that the CCA is able to continue to bring our community together. If you haven’t done so, please renew or become a member.

CCA Dockfest Community Social 2020

Dockfest is unfortunately likely to be cancelled this year. While we are keeping our eye on how everything progresses we just don’t think it will be possible in the age of Covid 19.

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Last year’s Dockfest with over 300 people in attendance was a huge success and a great way for fellow cottagers to get to meet each other!

This year we were ready for another year of great food, music, and fun for all ages. The Mike Graham Band was a huge hit with our very own Dave Curtis(event organizer) taking to the mike a number of times as did a few other amazing cottagers. New this year we were planning for more kid activities with Christy Smith Face Painter Extraordinaire and Matthew Quibell Balloon Artist. Both would have spellbound you and your children with their craft and artistry. In addition the Cavendish Fire Department was coming with lots of good safety information and some big shiny fire trucks on display. And more!

So, as this likely will not happen this August 1st long weekend, we will keep our members posted should something change . We just wanted to wet your appetite for Dockfest 2021! Stay tuned.

Hazard & Navigational Buoys

Marking waterways falls under the jurisdiction of the Private Buoy Regulations section of the Canadian Shipping Act (2001). There are specific sizes, colours and markings that must appear on each marker. A few years ago, we updated all our hazard and navigation buoys to ensure we were compliant with the regulations. This was a great deal of work and cost but with our fantastic group of volunteers and your support we got it done. Our goal is to help ensure residents, cottagers and visitors to our beautiful lake are aware of under water hazards and everyone is kept safe.

Catchacoma Cottagers Association deploys and maintains 39 hazard buoys in 15 locations and 21 navigation buoys in 5 locations throughout Catchacoma Lake and Catchacoma Narrows. The yellow hazard buoys identify underwater hazards and shoals and the green and red buoys aid in navigation through some of the busier channels on Catchacoma Lake and Catchacoma Narrows. Shoals and rock formations can be quite large and extend many meters beyond the markers, boaters are advised to give a wide berth.

Every effort is made to ensure the buoys are maintained in the correct locations by our volunteers throughout the boating season and are checked regularly by our volunteers. The buoys are not permanent and therefore can move due to weather, changing water levels or sometimes the ropes are cut by propellers. The program does not guarantee that buoys that have been deployed have not moved and unmarked locations of the lake can be safely navigated. The primary responsibility for safe boating is with the operator of the vessel. Please email with any questions or concerns regarding the buoys.

Thank you for your continued support of the Catchacoma Cottagers Association and the buoy program. Without your support and the support of our wonderful volunteers it would not be possible.

Thank you to Ric Mackey for his donation of the use of his barge for the deployment this spring and to Pete Major who looked after the deploying the buoys in Catchacoma Narrows.

The threat of invasive aquatic plants

Please do not move your boat from one water body, or from other lake systems, to another without carefully draining it, washing it and drying it.

In Spring 2020 FOCA included a presentation on Invasive aquatic plants at its spring meeting which was attended by a CCA Board representative.

While so far this has not been a problem we are aware of on Catchacoma, many lakes in our area are experiencing serious issues with invasive aquatic plants. For example, Big Cedar Lake at the south end of the KH Park off Hwy 28, has had Eurasian Water Milfoil; and Stony Lake is now battling a very serious outbreak of Starry Stonewort. In many cases the likely source of the invasion is from plant fragments moved between lakes on trailered boats.

Logging in the Catchacoma Forest

During the winter of 2019-2020 there was significant logging activity in the Catchacoma Forest on Crown Land just north of the lake on the west side of Pencil Creek. This is an area of mature forest dominated by mature eastern hemlock trees. Many local residents are familiar with the snowmobile and hiking trails through this forest. The logging activity came as a surprise to many residents and raised concerns among cottagers on our lake. More recently lake residents and cottagers have been visiting the site which is accessible off 507 from the parking lot on the east side north of the Baldwin Bay Road or from fire routes off the Baldwin Bay Road.

The logging was carried out by the Bancroft Minden Forest Co. (BMFC) under their Forest Management Plan License as approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). This area is under a 10 year Forest Management Plan license for the period from 2011 to 2021. 2019-2020 is the first time under the 10 year plan that logging has been undertaken on this parcel of land.

In late fall, CCA became aware of the planned logging activity and established contact with three interest groups who were undertaking to see this forest protected. The three groups were the Ancient Forest Exploration Research Group (AFER), the Wilderness committee (WC), and the Peterborough Youth Leadership in Sustainability group
(YLS). In December the WC and AFER posted information on the WC website at In February the WC was responsible for a full page article in the Peterborough Examiner newspaper reporting on the logging activity and making a case as to why this forest should be considered for conservation protection. Subsequently in March the BMFC published a letter in the same paper outlining the case for their logging activity under their Forest management Plan.

Since that time CCA has participated in a new group known as the Catchacoma Forest Stewardship Committee. The group is being organized by the Wilderness Committee Ontario Branch and includes representatives from AFER, YLS, CCRAI, CCA and a number of local residents and cottagers. The group has requested that the BMFC review the status of this forest and consider it for conservation before next years planned logging activity. The group is also preparing to participate in the review of the application for a new 10 year forest management plan which will be up for public input this summer.

CCA will make information about the logging operation and the work of the Stewardship Committee available on our website as it becomes available. Over the summer members of our lake community are encouraged to visit the forest and consider whether you would like to support the efforts of the Catchacoma Forest Stewardship Committee which is led by the Wilderness Committee.

Water Testing 2019

Your association is aware of three water quality related testing programs on Catchacoma Lake.

All of the water sampling program results for Catchacoma indicate conditions are stable and the various water quality measurements fall within the normal range for healthy lakes. In all cases the testing is carried out in locations with deep water away from shorelines. The goal of the testing is to get a general profile of water quality in our lake ecosystem over time in order to monitor for changes. Because no inshore samples are taken these measurements do not in any way indicate conditions for swimming or for domestic water supplies drawn from the lake at specific cottage sites.

Since 2018 CCA has partnered with Trent University to undertake water chemistry testing in a deep area at the north end of the lake. The tests include a full range of measurements based on samples from the surface and from near the bottom of the lake as well as a measurement of the temperature and dissolved oxygen profiles from the surface to 100 feet of depth. We expect this program to continue in 2020 provided that the University is able to get researchers in to the field this summer.

For many years volunteers on our lake have participated in the Lake Partner Program sponsored by The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MOECP), and the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Associations (FOCA). The program collects samples and measures concentrations of phosphorus, calcium and water clarity. Recent data sets for Catchacoma represent both the north and southern basins of the lake. The data can be reviewed on the FOCA website at ( As of June 1 this program is on hold across the province because of the Covid situation.

The third sampling program is undertaken by the Cavendish Community Ratepayers Association (CCRAI) who annually collect samples from select locations throughout the Mississagua Lake chain to test for total coliforms and e-coli. Again this sampling on Catchacoma is in a central deep water location and the results therefore are not applicable to specific shoreline sites. Over the years this program has not normally found significant bacterial levels in the deep water location on our lake.

A message from Councillor Carol Armstrong

Welcome Back, Cottagers!

Many of you know me, but for those who don’t, let me share a little bit about myself.
I retired from a career at Xerox, with management roles in both the U.S. and Canada. My last 6 years I managed its Supplies Business – a $200 million unit with 100 employees. Retirement didn’t agree with me, so I went on to lead a Community Futures Network based in Peterborough, with a focus on rural economic development and investments in innovative start-up companies.

I have been a cottager for 20 years on Picard Lake, and moved here full time in 2008. You will find me in the water – swimming, kayaking or rowing, on the trails – x-country skiing or hiking, or on the roads – cycling or running. (Sometimes I just sit and enjoy the view!)
This is my first term on Trent Lakes Council, and I have to say the learning curve is all about process and patience. Things definitely do not move at the speed of the private sector, but I take satisfaction in the accomplishments this Council has made to date, including eliminating quarterly restrictions on the waste card, empowering staff to make decisions on waste replacement cards, introducing restrictions on fireworks, implementing a 24/7 bylaw complaint line, and holding the 2020 tax rate flat over 2019.
I made commitments to all of you when I was aspiring to become a Councillor. These continue to guide me, and I strive to:

  • Represent all property owners and ensure an open, transparent and accountable Council
  • Focus on the continued economic, environmental and social viability of our community
  • Contribute my business and professional skills to a more strategic, responsive Council
  • Do my part to protect the natural beauty and precarious ecology we are privileged to enjoy

Cavendish has been the beneficiary of several initiatives over the last 18 months. The outdoor rink at the Community Centre was refurbished, with final repairs to be completed this summer. The rehabilitation of Beaver Lake Road will (finally!) be completed this year. The retaining wall at the waste transfer site will be replaced to provide a safe space between the drive thru and the garbage bins. A Black Cat radar detector will be posted on the 507 to assist the OPP in addressing the dangers we are experiencing with speeding, careless vehicles. Continuing an annual program, the Peterborough Public Health will be conducting inspections of 300 septic systems in our area this summer to ensure their proper functioning and to safeguard the quality of our water.

Council is currently working through a few major issues. First, our building infrastructure has reached a point of required renewal in many areas, due to both physical and functional deficiencies. Over the next 20 years, $10 – $15 million will be required to renovate and/or replace these. Most of the cost will be covered by reserves and grants. A working group of Council and Staff, with input from prior consulting studies and community leaders, is preparing a comprehensive and realistic implementation plan.
Another area of focus is strengthening public engagement activities and improving communications. There is lots of opportunity here, and many of you provided input to a just completed consulting study. Everything from staff support to communications channels, copy content, user-friendly formats, interactive forums and branding is being examined. Already, Council meetings are webcast live and enable you to attend virtually to see your local government in action.

Importantly, I want to give a shout out and well-deserved credit to our Municipal leadership and staff for adapting and innovating throughout the COVID-19 emergency. They have kept essential operations going while efficiently implementing the many new directives issued by Federal, Provincial and County governments.

I live just up the 507 on Baker Drive, and encourage each of you to reach out to me with your thoughts, feedback or concerns and, most of all, your ideas for how to continually improve the community we share and enjoy. This is a special place, and our collective goal should be to preserve and enhance what Mother Nature has given us, and to realize our vision:

Trent Lakes is proud to be a vibrant, resilient, sustainable and environmentally friendly community.

Carol Armstrong
(705) 657-7518

Pesticides & Pollinators

In 2017, our association partnered with the Canadian Wildlife Federation and Watershed Canada to bring us the “Love Your Lake” program. This initiative involved a comprehensive assessment of our waterfront, identified threats and drew our attention to environmentally responsible practices. Specific reports relating to our individual properties and practices were made available. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn how we can enhance our water quality and protect spawning and breeding sites by nurturing the “ribbon of life” between the shoreline and the water.

As a small scale bee keeper I have been listening with alarm to apiarists’ warning us about the decline in pollinator populations. Bees are responsible for up to 90% of the world’s most important human food crops. The growing rate of hive decline is troubling and largely attributed to the use of pesticides and loss of natural habitat.

Recently, I have been concerned to see pest control companies servicing properties on our lake. When speaking with technicians on the spot and visiting company websites, some of these companies are applying what they claim to be an organic ‘natural’ substance – pyrethrin. Using high velocity sprayers, they assure customers that treatments are applied precisely, in spots where mosquitos and ticks live and breed and that they conscientiously avoid pollinators and the plants they visit. Ironically, mosquitos are in fact pollinators! And, anyone who has walked by and watched one of these technicians at work will notice the chemical cloud that swirls around them. These applications seem anything but precise.

Run off after application of pyrethrin is also a concern for sediment dwelling aquatic organisms because it can accumulate and become toxic. Luckily most birds and mammals can metabolize pyrethrin, but in fish, including lake trout and other aquatic invertebrates, it can accumulate to a life threatening toxic level.

As stewards of this beautiful space, we have an awesome responsibility. The earth is struggling – perhaps beyond redemption. School curriculums are steeped in lessons that promote and teach our future generations to care for the earth and to honour all forms of life, no matter how small. Sure…it is hard to feel love for mosquitos….but even the pesky mosquito is part of the delicate fabric of a natural ecosystem that is already so fragile and precarious. Pests to us, but food for birds, bats and fish. And, what about the impact of pyrethrin on nature’s own best pest control – dragonflies?

A report provided by the Ontario Bee Keepers Association titled, “How to Reduce Bee Poisoning From Pesticides” recommends ways to mitigate the threat to pollinators. If you are still considering this service, please note the following guidelines:

  • Be informed. Have a preliminary conversation with the company you are considering about the products they use and their impact on the environment.
  • Spray only in the early evening, when many pollinators, like the bees, have gone home for the day.
  • Avoid applying on a windy night to contain the spread of the pyrethrin or other chemicals.
  • While the company may assert that they avoid pollinator plants, they also need to avoid plants that are flowering. Flowering plants provide food to pollinators.
  • Schedule application when rain is not in the immediate forecast to avoid runoff and contamination of aquatic life.

As Catchacoma property owners, we are the keepers of the ecosystems we inhabit. We are all becoming increasingly aware of the impact of our actions on the natural environment. ‘Love Your Lake’ got the conversation started regarding the harmful use of fertilizers, the importance of native and diverse plant life vs cultivated monoculture and the protection of our natural shorelines. Let’s continue to seek out best practices and learn together. Several weeks ago, a friend paid me a socially distant visit. As we wandered our property, I drew her attention to a mass of beautiful purple blooms on a patch of vinca that carpets our little pet cemetary. She frowned and said, “You know that is an invasive species, right?”

I didn’t know. But, now I do.

— Linda Briden, Catchacoma Lake

Water Level Info

Water level information and links to the important websites are available on the CCA website under the Cottage Living heading.

For information on current water levels as measured at the Mississagua Dam link to the Parks Canada Trent-Severn Waterway website. At this site you can also view the latest Water Management Updates and the current Drawdown Forecast which is published weekly beginning in Mid-July.

For additional information on water management across the TSW Reservoir lakes see the Coalition for Equitable Water Flow website. The CEWF site includes water level records for all years since 2013 if you wish to compare to past experience.