The Blue Sea Lake Watershed

Detailed Technical Description of the Blue Sea Lake and Blue Sea Stream Watershed

 

   

In the Introduction to the 2000 GEIGER Report (GEIGER being the French acronym for "the interdisciplinary group of studies in regional geography and environment" at the University of Quebec at Montreal), there is a good description of the challenge facing the lake's ecosystem.

Blue Sea Lake is justly known as "The Jewel of the Gatineau Valley". Its abundance of fish combined with the quality of its water make it a prime recreational-tourist destination. However, during the past several years, there have been indications that the lake's ecosystem is under considerable environmental stress.

The first indication was that, although the lake provides a suitable environment for Lake Trout, an indigenous fish, this species had had reproduction problems due to the deterioration of its spawning grounds. The second indication was a brief outbreak of blue-green algae contamination, which - although it had no serious consequences - demonstrated the susceptibility of the lake to physical-chemical imbalances. These signs have generally been recognized as being the result of an over abundance in the lake of organic matter, a situation that is commonly referred to as the eutrophication of the lake.

Although the health of Blue Sea Lake is determined primarily by the activities within its immediate basin, any activities within the territory that drains into the lake can have - in varying degrees - an impact on the lake.

 

geigerFor more information, consult the GEIGER Report (French 1.3 MB). The purpose of this report was to provide a detailed technical description of the watershed in order to help identify the source of the organic matter (principally phosphorus) feeding into the lake and thereby assist authorities on how best to deal with this problem. Please note that the entire report is available in French only; however, an English translation of the report's introduction and conclusions is available.

 

Hydrography

Blue Sea Lake is situated in the municipalities of Blue Sea and Messines, approximately 90 kms north of Gatineau. As is noted in the GEIGER Report, "the lake has an irregular form, with a length of just over 9 kms from north to south and a width of just over 3 kms from east to west near the village of Messines.

As to the Blue Sea Stream, it meanders a distance of approximately 4 kms along the base of a relatively flat valley. Downstream of the study area, the stream stretches another 8 kms before emptying into the Picanoc River at a point approximately 3 kms before the Picanoc empties into the Gatineau River."

It should also be noted that "Blue Sea Lake collects water from 32 other lakes while that portion of the Blue Sea Stream dealt with in this study receives water from an additional 16 lakes, for a total of 48 lakes. In addition, the area of the study contains a large number of intermittent swamps formed by beaver dams".