Silt ponds improve Lake Lisgar

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The three silt ponds north of Lake Lisgar have been doing exactly what was intended - they are filling up.

"That's the purpose of the silt ponds," said Lake Lisgar Revitalization Project's Frank Kempf. "When they fill up again, they need to re-dredge those so the silt that is captured upstream doesn't enter the lake."

Early in October, the silt pond west of Cranberry Road was dredged.

"This is part of our long-term plan for the health of the lake," said Kempf, noting that although it had been dredged a few years ago, it had re-filled in to the point where we it needed attention, otherwise the silt would end up in Lake Lisgar.

The October 3rd dredging, completed by Kirwin and Oatman, was a one-day process.

"They (Kirwin and Oatman) been a big supporter of our project since Day 1," said Kempf.

Half of the dredging cost was paid by the property owner, George Ambrus, who would be able the silt for a tree-planting project. The Town of Tillsonburg funded $3,500 for the project from its 2017 budget.

"It's good silt," said Weston.

"It's actually usable," Kempf nodded. "Nutrient rich."

Environmental regulations had to be followed, said Weston, which meant they could not do it in the middle of the summer.

"The other silt pond, on the east side of Cranberry Road, we're looking at next year," said Kempf, expecting the neighbor's silt pond to be dredged in 2018.

"That will be the third (dredging) for that one," said Weston. "And then there's the one (silt pond) we created."

The newer silt pond, downstream and closer to Lake Lisgar, fills up slower, said Kempf, because of the job being done by other two silt ponds.

"But we needed a third pond," said Weston, noting it is located on town property.

"Absolutely," Kempf agreed.

Earlier in March, mud-pumping was done at the north end of Lake Lisgar, part of Phase 5 of the lake revitalization project. A very narrow window of opportunity was available, and it was successful despite gale-force winds, snow and icy conditions.

"Still some more work to do there," said Kempf, "so we're working with the Conservation Authority and the Ministry of Environment to continue with that project. It will be ongoing."

"It deepened it by seven feet, but we ran into a lot of leaves and twigs and stuff," said Weston, "and we didn't get as far around as we needed. It's crucial that we get it done, otherwise it will be dammed up right across the stream. It's serious - if we're going to save the north end, we have to do this work. It's imperative."

Hundreds of aquatic plants, supplied by Moore Water Gardens and paid by a Phase 5 grant from Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund, were planted along Lake Lisgar's north shores in late June, early July, to provide habitat and protection for fish, frogs, etc. and aid in better water quality.

Representatives from the Lake Lisgar Revitalization Project will be making a presentation to Town Council in November, said Weston, asking for 2018 funding to dredge the other Cranberry Road silt pond.

"It has to be done or we're going to lose the north end (of the lake). Already, you could walk across in some areas where you never could before." 

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