Algoma cottagers are boosting local lake health

Published: April 22, 2020

A lake reflecting the trees By Dribble/Shutterstock

Cottagers in Algoma have lake health on the brain—and a snazzy new info booklet in hand—courtesy of the Central Algoma Freshwater Coalition.

The CAFC had known for years that the watersheds in its area needed some attention. “After we had algae blooms on some local lakes, we started monitoring the phosphorus levels,” says Chuck Miller, a cottager and president of the volunteer organization. Armed with research findings and expert help from an environmental consultant with a Ph.D. in freshwater research, the group developed watershed management plans, then held open houses to share the info.

“We wanted to start a discussion in the community, but the open houses didn’t get the turnout that we were hoping for,” says Chuck. “We were missing a step between ‘identifying the problem’ and ‘implementing social change.’ We thought, What are we going to do?”

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The missing step—the discussion starter, Chuck hopes—is A Guide to Sustainable Living in Algoma, the group’s just-released 16-page booklet of information and best-practice strategies tailored to waterfront living in Algoma. With grant money from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the CAFC was able to hire a writer and a graphic designer. And it shows: “The pages really pop,” says Chuck.

Volunteers got booklets in every mailbox within the community and are sending copies to every lake association. The feedback so far? Extremely positive, says Chuck. “We get comments that it’s just the right length,” he says. “Some people get overwhelmed with environmental issues. They throw up their hands. Our philosophy with this booklet was, if you can’t do it all, do something.”

Is blue-green algae on the rise? Read our update.

This story was originally published in the Early Summer 2018 issue of Cottage Life.

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