Tributary Study –  Overview

Tributary Study – Overview

The tributaries of Lake Scugog are
significant yet relatively understudied components of the lake.
Most of the research that’s been done to date has focused on the lake itself. For
example, looking at walleye spawning in the near shore areas and the tributaries
remain relatively understudied. It was wonderful that we had the opportunity to
obtain a small surplus of funds from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to really
focus in on the health of the tributaries and in particularly focusing
on how they support biological communities such as walleye. So there’s
dozens of rivers creeks and streams that enter Lake Scugog. That the majority of
people don’t even recognize as being important pathways. They probably drive
over them every day without even recognizing they’re there. The larger
ones in particular such as Nonquon River are named but the majority of them
that flow into Lake Scugog are relatively small and unnamed. But these
are just as important biologically and for water quality in Lake Scugog. The
tributaries have been studied particularly through the Lake Scugog
Environmental Management Plan. And some important key findings include, the fact
that Cawkers Creek is relatively small water course
draining through Port Perry yet on a per capita basis contributes the most
nutrient loading into the lake. The Nonquon River contributes the most
nutrients of all sources, yet the Port Perry Wastewater Control Plant which
outlets into the Nonquon River contributes only a fraction of that
total. One thing we don’t know much about is the biological connection between the
lake and its tributaries. We know that certain recreational fish species in the
lake have migratory tendencies and migrate up tributaries to spawn in the
spring. For example, walleye muskellunge and
white sucker. It’s important that we understand the quality of the habitat
within these tributaries so we can understand the challenges facing walleye
in order to better protect them. There’s two priority areas of focus for
us: One of which is understanding long-term water quality changes in the
tributaries through monitoring at the outlets of all of them to understand
whether or not any progress has been made for the Lake Scugog Environmental Management Plan. The other area of focus is investigating the quality of the
tributaries in terms of providing walleye spawning habitat. So this type of
work related to water quality and walleye spawning habitat is what we’ll
be working on within the next few months to better understand the connections
between the lake and its tributaries.

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