Thursday, May 10, 2012

Stabilization of water levels


Bouchette, April 30, 2012 - The new president of the Association of Grand Lac Rond (Lake Roddick), Robert LeSage, is very pleased to inform members of the association and all property owners of Grand Lac Rond, that after many demands, the Centre d’expertise hydrique du Québec (CEHQ) finally agreed to modify as a test - the operation of the dam located on Lac des 31 Milles. The CEHQ is a agency under the control of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks (MDDEP), and among its many responsibilities it manages and operates some 780 public dams in Quebec, as well as ensuring water management, security and maintenance.

For decades, the property owners of Grand Lac Rond have complained of water fluctuations on their lake, and everyone knew it was caused by the management of the dam, but there was no clear proof. These constant fluctuations had profoundly negative effects on the ecology and environment of the lake, wildlife and aquatic plants, and caused many problems – for example unstable docks and unsafe boating. We know that Lac des 31 Milles Lake flows into Lac Michel, Lac La Vieille, and Lac des Pères before emptying into Grand Lac Rond.

In order to solve the problem, a member of the Executive Committee of the Association, Mr. Michael Lukyniuk, decided to take measurements of water levels in fall of 2010 and throughout the summer of 2011, while considering precipitation, the opening and closing of the dam and the water level on Lac des 31 Milles. He collected all this information in a report that was forwarded to CEHQ by the President of the Association. The following is a summary of the correspondence in this matter:

- September 12, 2011: Robert LeSage sent a letter to the Chief of CEHQ, Yvon Gosselin, reiterating the problems of water levels on Grand Lac Rond, and forwarded a copy of a resolution passed at the general annual meeting of the Association and a first report produced by Mr. Lukyniuk.

- October 18, 2011: Mr. Gosselin responds to Mr. LeSage that his organization will attempt "to determine management criteria that will minimize changes in water levels on lakes downstream of the dam, without compromising its security, and respecting the criteria and constraints of current management." He added that he will inform us of the "changes we decide to bring to the management of the dam at Lac des 31 Milles."

- February 17, 2012: Having received no follow up, Robert LeSage sent another letter to Mr. Gosselin, more vindictive this time, insisting that "the department has always disclaimed responsibility in the matter, but it is high time for the government to cope with the situation and take our demands seriously." Another more comprehensive report was made ​​by Mr. Lukyniuk and was attached to this correspondence. On 18 October, Mr. Gosselin wrote that "the dam was built to meet the needs of cottagers from Lac des 31 Milles". Mr. LeSage replied in his letter that the owners of Grand Lac Rond "are full citizens and  have as many rights as those of Lac des 31 Milles". He also asked Mr. Gosselin if environmental impact studies were conducted before the dam was built in 1978, and before its reconstruction in 2009-2010.
NOTE: To date, this question remains unanswered.

- March 2, 2012: Mr. Yvon Gosselin acknowledges receipt of the document and informed Mr. LeSage that certain recommendations in the second report by Mr Lukyniuk are among the solutions to be analyzed by the CEHQ. He also mentions that a new management of the dam will be tested in the summer of 2012.

- March 13, 2012: Mr. LeSage wrote again to the director of the CEHQ expressing his appreciation and thanks for the actions undertaken. He asks him to keep the association informed of the progress of the study and to share his report before it is formally adopted.

- April 13, 2012: Mr. Jacques J. D'Astous, Chief of Management CEHQ, wrote to Mr. LeSage to inform him that staff gauges (to take water level measurements) were installed on Lac Michel, Lac des Pères, Grand Lac Rond, and the confluence of the Gatineau River. He also ensured Mr. LeSage that the necessary actions will be taken to minimize variations in water levels on lakes downstream of the dam at Lac des 31 Milles until their study is completed.

Furthermore, Michael Lukyniuk spoke with a technician from the CEHQ who checked on how the previous measurements had been made on Grand Lac Rond. Arguably, the colossal work of Mr. Lukyniuk has been successful and the Association of Grand Lac Rond owes him a debt of gratitude.

In conclusion, Mr. LeSage is very satisfied that this problem which has persisted for several decades is finally being resolved.

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