Dear Lake Friends,
This note covers the two watersheds in Algonquin Highlands.
I’m sure you’re aware that we’ve had some significant weather here in the Highlands. We had 80mm of rain over 4 days and then a reprieve until the last two days when it rained steadily. In anticipation of the second storm, TSW took logs out throughout the system to create capacity. However, there’s still ice on the lakes and a bit in the bush, and the ground remains mostly frozen.
Fire Chief Mike Cavanaugh and I have been on two conference calls with TSW and MNRF yesterday and today, with others scheduled tomorrow and Sunday. These calls include other townships in the County and south into the rest of our watershed.
In the Gull River Watershed, TSW measured 58mm at their Maple Lake measuring station in a 24-hour period. That’s significant. The rain has stopped and all seems normal but as you know, all that water has to go somewhere, so I offer the following:
Lake levels in the Gull system have seen increases of anywhere from 15cm to 28cm. Some lakes are currently below full; others are at capacity. Inflows into the system haven’t peaked yet but are currently exceeding outflows. This means that lake levels will continue to rise over the weekend and into next week. It cannot be predicted how high they will go. Remember, flooding doesn’t necessarily happen quickly; it often just creeps in slowly.
It’s expected that the colder temperatures expected over the weekend will slow things down and let the system catch up but we all need to remain attentive and cautious. Rivers, creeks, beaver ponds and other smaller waterways will fill faster than the lakes so there’s likely to be a lot of water around.
As you likely know, our watershed feeds through Minden which is essentially a bottleneck in the system. The river in Minden is currently “bank full” as they say, with Riverwalk flooded and some sandbagging started by Minden Hills. Minden Hills is highly attentive to the situation and is monitoring it very closely. Many of you shop or spend time in Minden, so you will find regular and informative updates on the Minden Hills website at www.mindenhills.ca. You can also see current area notices, along with maps, on the provincial flood page at https://www.ontario.ca/law-and-safety/flood-forecasting-and-warning-program.
There’s been notable road damage in the County, especially in Dysart, so if you’re heading to Haliburton, best check social media to see what the situation is (Moose FM, Canoe FM, the Highlander FB pages are best).
Algonquin Highlands has had some road problems, too. Public Works staff has been busy monitoring road conditions, installing temporary signage, cones and completing repairs where necessary. There have been some washouts, one sinkhole and several places where water was across the road.
In the south, affected roads have been Dawson, Tulip, Oliver, Walker Line, Halls Lake Rd East, 25th Line, Braeloch, and Buckslide. In the north, affected roads have been Harris, Tom Parris, and Troutspawn. All roads in Algonquin Highlands are currently open and passable but please be attentive to any signage or traffic cones.
We are also informed daily about the Parry Sound Muskoka Watershed to the north where Kawagama, Oxtongue and other lakes flow. Lakes in that watershed are rising as well; there is still some capacity in Kawagama which is currently at summer levels, and Lake of Bays is slightly above summer levels. Oxtongue Lake isn’t measured but flows on the river have increased significantly.
We continue to monitor and prepare, as should you. We are currently in a fairly good position however that’s expected to change and will depend on the weather. I’m posting regular updates to my social media channels (see details under signature) and you can also check with the newspapers and the radio stations on Facebook or Twitter.
This message is going out to whatever lake association contacts I have, as well as a few individual addresses. Please feel free to share this with your networks. This is not a “sky is falling” email, just a cautionary update on what’s going on with the lake levels.
Please be prepared and be sensible. Stay away from rivers and creeks because they’re moving faster than you think. As lakes rise, ice gets grumpy and some jamming may occur. If you see water on roadways don’t just drive through it – you don’t know the condition of the roadbed under it. Please obey all signs and any closures.
Reeve, Township of Algonquin Highlands
Warden, County of Halliburton
Facebook: Algonquin Highlands Reeve Carol Moffatt