“Dammed if I do, Dammed if I don’t”

This perplexed squirrel, perched precariously on his broken branch extending over the water of Silver Lake is assessing his choices: wait to be rescued or take a leap of faith. He took a leap of faith. His position clearly  illustrates the current  situation facing  the restoration of the Lake. 

The Friends of Silver Lake recently reviewed the SNC Lavalin Report about soil testing in Silver Lake. This study was  commissioned by Norfolk County in the fall of 2009 with the final report being submitted to the County April 2010 . The contractors had recently undertaken emergency work to assess the viability of the dam. The lowered water level was a prime opportunity to address the potential to deepen the lake and realign the shoreline in response to local municipal and community interest.  

The result of the testing shows that there are pockets of soil contamination that exceed  allowable limits. Soil removal will require specialized treatment before disposal. The report further recommends the County first determine the ownership of the lake bed and assess if these owners share in the responsibility or liability for the cleanup of the contaminated sediment.

150 years of population growth and accompanying increased storm water runoff being directed from expanding  residential areas into the Lynn River water system is taking its toll. Sedimentation has been building up in the lake bed to a point that it needs to be dredged to maintain its function.  Before the lake can be dredged there is a legal requirement  to assess the quality of the soil for disposal purposes.

In the meantime, we face a delay. Just like the little fellow sitting out on a limb overlooking the Lake, there are only two options. A) leave the muddy flatbeds as they are or B) Take a leap of faith and pay the money to decontaminate the soil when it is dredged. Do this  in the name of increased tourism, economic development, recreational activities,  preservation of habitat for endangered species, flood abatement for the town and preservation of commercial fisheries and marinas. .

Friends of Silver Lake believe there is only one choice. We are stewards of a heritage that belonged to our ancestors and the responsibility has been passed on to our community to preserve that heritage for generations to come. If we leave  the situation as it is, it will not go away. First there is the safety hazard of children playing out in the flats getting stuck in the mud. We have already had one situation of this nature. There is the problem of the field of noxious Purple Loosestrife invading the area like wild-fire. We must also consider the infestation of mosquitoes in the bog with accompanying concern of West Nile warnings. Will we have the courage to take a Leap of Faith!

To read the full SNC Lavalin report, go to the Silver Lake website SNC Lavalin Report 10Apr19



St. Cecelia’s Catholic Women’s League May 16, 2012

Photo by Gordon Leaker

The Catholic Women’s League of St. Cecelia’s, Port Dover. gathered at their last general meeting for the season on Wednesday May 16. Visiting guest, Diane Leaker, delivered a note of appreciation on behalf of the Friends of Silver Lake. The FOSL group were delighted by the unexpected news that the CWL was awarding the proceeds of a special charity Bingo Fund Raiser to the Silver Lake Restoration Fund in the amount of $560.00.  The CWL is well known in Port Dover for their support of schools, hospital and other worthy causes.

When asked why Silver Lake Restoration had been selected by the group, Chair Maureen Rossitter opened the floor to the group. The women were passionate in their responses:

  •  “Our Motto is About God and Canada. That includes our Community here in Port Dover”
  • ” We are a sisterhood that supports worthy causes in our community.”
  • ” Silver Lake is our heritage.”
  • ” Silver Lake is our community and our identity.”
  • “Silver Lake is the subject of our local poetry, stories and music.”
  • ” One of our young people received a university scholarship because the lake provided opportunity for rowing as a recreational activity.”
  • “We moved here to be close to the wildlife and water related activity in the wetlands and the lake.”
  • ” Our economic development depends on it. ” 

The CWL has 103 paid up members. They have a mission and it comes through loud and clear  


It sure feels great to know that our community is behind us. But then, that is Port Dover and why people come back to live here after finding the grass is not so green in other places!  By the way, this following photo posted by Tim Warriss this week is a reminder that we need to get the water back in the Lake.

Tim calls this picture “8 of 11”.  He comments ” This brood of ducklings is 11 strong, here are a few of the more independent ones poking at the mud in Silver Lake.

8 OF 11

Okay, you think Tim may be exaggerating that Mom has 11 offspring. His attention to detail means he stuck around long enough to ensure these little ones were not going to get stuck in the mud. The rest of the sibs and Mom as well are in the next photo. He has added a catchy title to the shot! If you click twice on the photo, you will get the full screen view.

“The Whole Fam Damily”

By the way, we understand that not only ducks are getting stuck in the mud. We hear that a couple of adventurous children were exploring the evolving jungle that is developing in the wetlands. They were having difficulty getting out of the muck and needed adult help.


Silver Lake Below its silvery surface, it harbours a mystery!

Silver Lake Below Its Silver Surface it harbours mystery!

And just what is this lingering mystery? No one knows who owns the land below the water! Or perhaps it could be more accurately said that no one will admit to owning the land. There are legal records to show that the dam was expropriated from the private owners by the Region of Haldimand Norfolk. Now that legal entity no longer exists. But the land below the lake is another mystery as well.

SNC Lavalin Water Sampling Report: At the request of Norfolk County Administration, SNC Lavalin was engaged to undertake an environmental assessment of the soil in the Lake. They submitted their report with a request to carry out expanded sampling.  The last report submitted in April 2010 outlines the results of their assessment. In a 140 page report attached to this posting by hyperlink, SNC Lavalin detail all the activities taken on, the outcomes of the sampling and the issues related to removing certain pockets of the accumulated sediment from the lake bed where the sediment is contaminated above the acceptable level.  This contaminated sediment may need special handling when it is removed and there would be extra costs associated in disposing of toxins that exceed the allowable levels. And so this explains the two years of secrecy about why the dam has not been repaired and why the lake bed has been left as a haven for mosquito larvae and the deceivingly beautiful and damaging fields of purple loose strife! It would seem that there is a safety issue going on whichever way we wish to view things. Our choices are:

Pay the money, fix the lake and enjoy the environmental, recreational and economic benefits of a Lake as we have done for 150 years or leave the Lake and wetlands as they are, a contaminated swamp and a breeding ground for West Nile Virus and destructive weeds.

It does seem odd that anyone could think  this lake bed is privately owned . There are no tax records in recent history. In those circumstances when taxes are not paid, the  land reverts to the public land. For an interesting read, please click on the following link (remember you will be asked to click twice).

SNC Lavalin Report 10Apr19

You will note that we have added a talented new photographer to our team. Tim Warris has taken almost daily pictures of Silver Lake and has been sharing them with Face Book friends. He appears to be a dedicated naturalist as well as gifted photographer. In his photo below, he managed to capture in his lens  “The Monster in Silver Lake”!  Forget Nessie, we have our own aquatic mystery creature. We need to get our Lake back to its former state. In this writer’s opinion, these mystery creatures are our heritage and they deserve better from us.

Tim describes this picture in his own words:

The Silver Lake Monster. Hiding under a fallen tree, this guy is the smaller of the two that have been hanging around the old dock next to the Lion’s Club building.

The Monster of Silver Lake


Harmony on Silver Lake

Meeting with Ministries

While all appears calm on Silver Lake this lovely spring evening, the relaxed scene in no way reflects the activity of our Directors from the Port Dover Waterfront Enhancement Association. They have been running at top speed in recent days following up on all the bureaucratic details  that must be attended to in order to keep the project top of mind with various ministries and the municipality.   While small steps have been taken, all positive news is cause to share and celebrate.

For your information, key executive members of the Friends of Silver Lake Committee met last week with 2 representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources, 2 reps from Long Point Region Conservation Authority and 1 rep from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The rep from the Ministry of Environment was unable to meet but did provide comments by mail regarding our draft plan for the Lake.

And the results were:

  • The group in attendance made favourable comments regarding our draft plan!
  • The MNR reps did not identify any “show stoppers” from their perspective at this point Phase 1 and Phase 2.!
  • We were advised that the Ministry of the Environment would be our first contact point for any work related to the restoration of Silver Lake. For that reason, it was suggested that it would be worthwhile for the Friends of Silver Lake to meet separately with the Ministry of Environment to clarify expectations regarding next steps!

Still to be resolved: There is still the issue of the dam – a separate issue yet to be determined by MNR – and also the question of silt contamination which is a MOE issue.  The County has provided the MNR with additional information regarding their application to repair Misner Dam and  MNR is currently reviewing this information. We have been cautioned that this is an “iterative process” that may require some more “back and forths” between the MNR and County before the MNR is able to rule on the County’s request for a permit.

The FOSL team is in process of arranging a separate meeting with  the Ministry of Environment as soon as possible. Following this meeting, we will plan next steps.

Other good news

We are in receipt of a report from the Municipality on the Quality of Water in the Lynn River System. The link to the full report is provided below.

For those of us who are not water techies, we can be pleased to know that we now have a comprehensive water quality testing program in Norfolk and it is working well!

The Simcoe Waste-water Treatment Facility (WWTF) has recently undergone capital upgrades in order to increase the rated capacity of the facility.  On November 10, 2010 the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) issued Certificate of Approval # 6612-8AEJ93.  This certificate increased the rated capacity of Simcoe WWTF to 15,400 m3/day.  It also specifies the sampling/monitoring requirements for the effluent from the WWTF.

On April 14, 2011, the MOE issued an amendment to Certificate of Approval # 6612-8AEJ93.  This Certificate of Approval amendment requires the implementation of a Lynn River Water Quality Monitoring Plan.  The plan was prepared by R.V. Anderson Associates Ltd and has been approved by the MOE.  This plan has established the following monitoring requirements as a condition of the Certificate of Approval for the Simcoe WWTF:

Water Quality Monitoring

Sampling at 5 locations along the Lynn River :

  •  one upstream of the Simcoe WWTF
  •  one at the Simcoe WWTF effluent outfall, and
  •  three at downstream locations.

Each location is to be sampled 5 times each year:

  • once in the winter
  • once in the spring
  • once in the summer during a period of ‘normal’ stream flow
  • once in the summer during a period of ‘low’ stream flow, and
  • once in the fall.

The County will be working with industries that may be contributing to pollutants in the waste water system to ensure everyone is taking all steps necessary to improve our environment.  For a full story, please click on the link below: For some reason that is a mystery, when you click on the link it takes you to another section and you need to click again.


Water Quality in the Long Point Region A Summary of the 2002-2005 Conditions and Trends

The many faces of Silver Lake!

Today we were going through some resource information we have collected and are posting a Summary of Water Quality in the Long Point Region showing conditions and trends. There has been discussion regarding leaving the lake to return to a stream for anglers. The report released by  Grand River Conservation Authority points out that our streams are showing a warming trend over time that will continue to have adverse impact  cold water fish. The dream of a cold water stream is moving quickly into a day dream as nature runs its course.

The warming trend in summer water temperature values across several watersheds (e.g. Big Otter Creek, Big Creek and Lynn River) is of obvious concern to maintaining the current cool and cold water fisheries. If you are interested in reading more about this, we are posting the entire document. If you are not a techie on this subject, you may find the executive summary interesting. It includes a brief summary of the major water quality issues within each of the six watersheds.

Whatever our interest may be, a new posting is always an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Silver Lake, through the wonder of digital photography and enhanced by memories of the past and our wish for the future.

LPRCA Water Quality July07.

Note: When you click on the link above, it will take you to a comment window where you need to click on the link again to access the full report@

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