Following are notices regarding the 2019 Spring freshet on Golden Lake and the Bonnechere River.

Some good news from The staff at Renfrew Power Generation:

Thank you RPG for sharing this valuable info. Released on Monday, 29 April.

My staff reports the snow is gone in Algonquin for our area. Although river is high and there is lots of water lying in places, they note visually that levels appear to be declining slowly.
I have included a picture of our snow sample site.
Please remember we are not out of the woods yet (so to speak)
I do warn that residents still stand guard as levels have not crested and weather is apparently moving in. Levels are still rising in both lakes and rivers, although at a slower rate. 

Following are notices from Townships:

  • May 5, 2019: The Township of Laurentian Valley is partnering with the County of Renfrew to host a Flood Assistance Centre to provide property owners affected by the flooding events occurring within the Renfrew County area with an opportunity to come to one location to get information and speak to staff on a variety of support services and information related to flooding impacts.  Click here for more information.
  •  In the 2019 March-April newsletter from KHR township, the mayor provides some updates to the spring flooding issue and related activities.
  • Minutes from the Emergency Management Community of Practice – Spring Freshet 2019:
  • Freshet update from Bonnechere Valley Township, 11 Apr 2019

Notes from Doug Buckwald, CEMC for BV Township:

15 May:

Lake Clear has dropped another 9 cm over the past week.

Round Lake continues to trend down, about 5-6 cm per day and is within 3 or 4 days of getting down to its upper limit.

Golden Lake is also trending down but only at 2-3 cm per day.  It is still in active flood conditions with properties affected in all three municipalities. At this rate of decline it will take between 25+ days to drop to its upper limit.

As Round Lake is getting down to its upper limit RPG intends to start dam operations at Tramore next week.  I have reached out to RPG and the RLPOA regarding starting that operation by the end of this week.  It is my belief that at this point Round Lake has adequately dropped to reduce the effects on its residents while Golden is still actively flooding and a significant number of residents are being affected.

Weather through to Saturday shows a potential for 10-15 mm of rain, with another 5-10 possible from isolated thunderstorms.

With the long weekend coming people need to be cognizant of the risks of boating in the midst of still flooding conditions.  Wakes can damage sandbag walls and push water onto unprotected properties.  There may very well be significant debris on or just under the surface of the water.  Any boating should done very carefully and certainly please wear your life jackets.

4 May:

Lake Clear seem to be maintaining it’s slow drop.

Round Lake is still dropping at about 3 cm a day.

At 11 am yesterday Golden Lake was at 170.39 and pretty much stayed there until 6 am today when it started bouncing from .39 to .40…possibly as a result of a small rise due to the showers yesterday combined with wind action at the gauge.  At 11 am today it sat steady on .40 for about an hour and then started to bounce between .40 and.39.  This may indicate the crest we have been looking for.

The forecast tomorrow is much like today. No rain and winds about 5-10 kph.  Monday thru Wednesday will be between 13-15 degrees with 5-10 kph winds.  Monday is now the only day expecting rain with about 5mm or less expected.

For those that haven’t heard yet there was a productive meeting and teleconference with the various stakeholders along the river system, host by KHR.  KHR has stated that they have no intention of asking for any log work at the Tramore dam.  The group is scheduled to meet again on Thursday to discuss conditions again and how to make improvements moving forward.

3 May:

Lake Clear levels continue to drop.  Readings will be taken later today by RPG.

Round Lake continues to decline, about 2cm/day.

Golden Lake rose about 1 cm yesterday.  Today will rise a bit more than that from last nights rain but with the warm sunny (mostly) weekend ahead we should see a crest this weekend.  Golden Lake is still about 95cm above its upper limit compared to Round Lake which is 69 cm above its limit.

Temperatures may hit 20 degrees by Sunday with nights remaining above freezing.  Winds are expected in the 5-10 kph range throughout the weekend, mostly out of the north.  Hopefully this doesn’t create too much wave action.

While it is good news that we may not hit the highest level of 2017 this is still an event that has affected a great  number of people and will continue to do so as the levels recede.  On that note I have some information resources on the Province’s Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians (DRAO) Program.  This is what replaced the old ODRAP program.  It still only covers primary residences, small businesses, farms and not-for-profits so unfortunately it will not help our seasonal residents with repairs/remediation to cottages.

Here are some links to resources on the program:

The County of Renfrew Flood Resources page.  This has links to resources for not only physical needs related to flooding but also how to access emotional and mental health support.  One of the lessons learned in 2017 was that there was support for responders but residents weren’t sure where to turn if they needed help coping with the emotional effects of dealing with flooding of their cherished cottages and homes.

http://www.countyofrenfrew.on.ca/news-events/news/support-available-for-residents-impacted-by-the-flood/

The Main link to the Province’s DRAO information page.  General information and steps in the process.

https://www.ontario.ca/page/apply-disaster-recovery-assistance#section-4

DRAO Application Form (Download)

http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca/mbs/ssb/forms/ssbforms.nsf/GetFileAttach/017-2234E~1/$File/2234E.pdf

If anyone can’t access the links, let me know and I will send them as attachments if needed.  I thought the links would be easier for sharing.  They should be uploaded to the Bonnechere Township Website shortly.

The Township remains ready to respond should conditions change and I will be monitoring the situation over the weekend.  If anyone has any needs over the weekend I can act as a single point of contact to coordinate resources with public works.

2 May:

Just a quick update following the rain.

Round Lake continues to drop.

For Golden Lake, since 10pm last night to 6:15 am this morning the rise was only 1 cm  to 170.37.   As of 12 noon that level has not risen.  We will probably go up another 1-2 cm today/tonight but barring any more rain we MAY be reaching a crest.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Requests for Sandbags has trended down in BV, only one request yesterday.  We still have bags on hand should conditions change or cottagers come up on the weekend.

Saturday and Sunday are currently forecast for SUNNY and temperatures in the upper teens.  Nights just above freezing.  There is rain in the forecast for next week and we are watching that system closely.

We will continue to monitor conditions and respond as necessary.

Thank you to everyone that is sharing these reports with their concerned contacts.  It makes things much easier for me and ensures that a consistent message is getting out to people that may be affected.  Moving forward, if you know of any other local groups that might benefit from these reports please let me know so I can include them.  Each incident that we go through provides opportunities for “lessons learned”.  I value any input from the group of ways to improve our communications or operational  responses.

As always, I am here for questions that may arise.

1 May:

Lake Clear has seen a small drop over the last week and will likely continue.

Round Lake has crested and has started to show a small drop this morning.  With the snowpack mostly depleted in the Bonnechere watershed area of Algonquin Park and Algonquin Park staff observing lower flows in the Park’s various water systems unless we get a significant weather system conditions should continue to improve.

Golden Lake rate of rise has slowed to 3 cm/day.  Hopefully we will see a peak in the next couple days followed by a drop in the lake levels.  We are usually a little behind Round Lake.

The Updated forecast for this week shows up to 22 mm today and only another 10 through the weekend, so not all that significant.

Winds range from 5-15 kph between now and Sunday so there will likely be some wave action on the lakes over the next few days.

BV currently has a good stockpile of sandbags, both unfilled and filled thanks to the efforts of EDPS and Opeongo and the volunteers who came to assist them

I am cautiously optimistic at this time.  Barring any heavy precipitation next week any improvements that have started should continue.

All of our Township roads are again open to traffic but please still be cautious for soft spots and washouts that may still be in place.  Public Works is doing their best to keep on top of things.

As always if you have any questions feel free to contact me.

30 April:

Lake Clear has exceeded its upper limit by approximately 25 cm last week.  There were no significant issues identified at that time.  The level and flows are being monitored and new numbers should be available shortly.

Round Lake continues to rise but the rate is slowly declining. It is down to about 10cm per day.  It has now reached its peak level of 2017.

Golden Lake also continues to rise but its rate also is declining.  It is down to about 5cm per day.  It has passed the level of its first peak in 2017 and is less than 20 cm from its 2017 final peak level so if it remains at this rate we will reach it by the weekend.  Hopefully it will continue its downward trend , peak and start to decline.

There has been some action by Round Lake property owners seeking to have the flow through the Tramore Dam increased to release levels on Round Lake.  This could have a negative effect on Golden Lake levels, negating any potential improvements to our situation.  There was a stakeholder meeting in KHR today and BV sent a delegation to ensure our concerns were heard.  My understanding is that another meeting will be held on Friday afternoon to reassess the situation before the weekend.  As of today RPG stated they had no plans at this time to conduct any changes at the Tramore Dam.

Some good news today, MNRF assessed the snow pack in Algonquin Park for the Bonnechere Watershed and found that the snow is essentially gone.  This should mean a lowering of flows in the near future.

Unfortunately we do have rain coming again this week with potentially 30 mm of rain from Wednesday to Friday.  This could have an effect on the rise rates later on in the week.  So it’s another week of wait and see.

Active sandbagging continues along the south shore of Golden Lake at a number of properties, mostly seasonal.  We have not been made aware of any residents who have been displaced by water levels affecting their homes.  The township has provided approximately 11,000 sandbags to residents to assist in protecting their properties.  This week Opeongo High school has filled another supply of bags for us, approximately 4500 were done today.  Eganville District Public School is coordinating another community sandbagging effort at the school tomorrow (Tuesday) at 4 pm.  Anyone wanting to help would be welcome.  Thanks to this tremendous support we should have approximately 6000 sandbags filled and on hand by tomorrow night.

As you are no doubt aware, The County of Renfrew has Declared an Emergency across the entire County in support of the lower tier municipalities as they deal with high water events.  A number of Townships have also made emergency declarations.  The Mayor and the senior management team have had discussions on this subject and based on our current situation and our ability to respond that we are not at a point of needing to declare at this time.  We will continue to monitor the situation and should conditions change that decision can be revisited.

I support the Mayor’s decision not to declare at this time and will continue to aid in her evaluation of the situation as we move forward.

Late today Municipal Affairs and Housing activated the Disaster Recover Assistance for Ontarians (DRAO) for the entire County of Renfrew and Pembroke.  DRAO provides funding assistance for repairs to primary residences, small businesses, farms and not-for-profits.  More information can be found at Ontario.ca/DisasterAssistance.  Application Deadline is August 27, 2019.  More information will be made available on this as we move forward.

We’re not out of the woods yet.  The water will increase some more but hopefully we are moving into a crest and slow decline if the weather holds out and nothing changes at Tramore.

The Township continues to monitor conditions and provide support to our residents as we can.

Thank You to everyone that has volunteered and helped out friends and neighbors as we go through this difficult event.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

26 April:

Whitewater Region, Horton Township and Mcnab-Braeside have all issued declarations of emergency for their municipalities.  This is due to the already high and still increasing levels on the Ottawa River.

The Mayor and I have discussed our situation again this morning and agree that we are not in a position where we need to make such a declaration in Bonnechere Valley.

Round Lake continues to Rise, the new rate of rise is 12 cm/day, a slightly slower rate than the past few days.

Golden Lake continues to rise, the new rate of rise is 6 cm/day, a slightly lower rate than the past few days.  At this lower rate of rise it is anticipated we will reach the first plateau of 2017 on Tuesday.

Constant Lake is dropping about 7 cm/day.

The rates of rise/drop may be affected by the forecasted rain so we are still in a very fluid (no pun intended) situation.  I will be monitoring conditions and maintaining regular contact with other Township, County and Provincial officials throughout the weekend.

There is a possible obstruction below Lake Clear that was identified with the help of the Renfrew County Paramedics Drone Program.  They did an overflight of the area and found a beaver dam that may be holding back water.

The original forecast for today/tonight was up to 40 mm of rain.  Updated modelling from MNRF Surface Water Monitoring Center has changed that to 30mm.

Not a great reduction but any reduction is welcome.

Requests for Sandbags and Sand can be made during regular office hours directly to the Public Works Department at 613.628.2855.

My cellphone will be on all weekend.  Due to some family commitments I may not be able to get back to you immediately but I will respond as soon as I can.

25 April:

Lake Clear has exceeded its upper limit by approximately 25 cm.  There are no significant issues identified at this time.  The level and flows are being monitored.

Round Lake continues to rise, the current rate being about 15 cm per day.  They are about 22 cm under their peak of 2008, which they will likely reach before the weekend.

Golden Lake’s rate of rise has been slowing over the past few days.  As of today it is about 6 cm per day and has reached the 2008 peak level.  We are still about 27 cm below the first peak of 2017.  At the current rate we will reach that level sometime on Monday or Tuesday.  It would then be another 20 cm to the final peak experienced in 2017.  No log operations are currently planned.

Constant Lake has begun to drop, having lost about 20 cm from its highest point this year.  There are still no log operations planned as bridges, roads and properties downstream are still being affected.

Over the past week the Township has distributed approximately 4000 sandbags to various properties in the Township.  Thanks to the Students and Staff at Opeongo High School that filled 3000 of those bags for us!

As we head into the weekend we will be transitioning into dropping loads of sand and empty bags in locations as needed and requested.  Residents are encouraged to engage their friends and neighbours in assisting with filling and placing bags when they are needed.

Many hands make for light work and please work safe.

We do have a supply of empty bags on hand and are expecting a further delivery by the end of this week as we move forward.

By now you may be aware of a Special Weather Statement from Environment Canada warning of a potential 25-50 mm of rain by Friday night.  The Surface Water Monitoring Center of the MNRF anticipates that our area shouldn’t exceed 30 mm if the storm maintains its current track.  A further 5mm is currently expected for Sunday to round out the weekend.

This weather event may increase rise rates however this is uncertain.  Please be cautious working near the waterways.

I would like to remind everyone that being prepared for spring flooding is the responsibility of every resident, just like being prepared for fires, power outages, windstorms, extreme heat or cold etc.  The Township takes steps to assist in the event of a large-scale event that overwhelms the ability of the community but should not be relied on as a first line of defense.

I will be available all weekend via email and cell phone to act as a single point of contact for questions or concerns that may arise.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any concerns.

During regular office hours requests for sandbags and sand can be made directly to the Public Works Department at 613.628.2855

23 April:

Rate of rise on Golden Lake is easing a bit…Still rising but a little slower.  No estimate of when it will peak or at what level it will peak.

At current rate of rise we could hit the 2017 first peak level on Saturday. Hopefully the rate of rise will continue its decline and push back that date…or if we’re really lucky, prevent it.

RPG has no plans for log operations at Tramore at this time.

Constant Lake appears to have levelled off for now, hopefully will begin to trend down if the next couple days rain isn’t too significant.  MNRF can’t pull any logs from Balaclava at this time as the water is up to the bridge on Hwy132 at Dacre and the Mt. St. Patrick bridge.

Corrigan Road in South Algona area and Constant Lake Road have both been reopened.  There are still some roads with water on them and some washouts so please continue to be cautious when driving.

Opeongo Students have filled 3000 sandbags for us today to ensure we have a supply of ready made bags should conditions worsen.  Kudos to them for reaching out to offer their help and getting so much done in one day!  Sandbags can be requested during office hours by calling the Public Works line directly at 613-628-2855.  If you can’t get through to them you can still contact me.

We are expecting less than 20 mm of rain tonight so hopefully that will not too much of an effect on levels.

22 April:

Lake Clear has risen approximately 19 cm and is still below its upper limit.  Round Lake rarely has issues during freshet and this years appears to be no exception.

Round Lake has risen approximately 60 cm in the last three days and by the time you receive this it will have passed its upper operating limit.  I am not aware of any issues yet due to lake levels.

Golden Lake has risen approximately 39 cm in the last three days, placing it above both its upper limit and average level and about 50 cm below the first peak of 2017.  I am not aware of any issues yet due to lake levels.

The big surprise this weekend has been Constant Lake, near Dacre.  Prior to the water level was rising approximately 3-4 cm per day, by today the water had risen over one meter.  This has caused localized flooding to several properties on the lake.  Sand and sandbags were provided and the fire department assisted with filling and delivering sandbags on the first day of response.  The bridge across highway 132 east of Dacre, while not in our Township, has water actually in contact with the underside of the bridge and flowing rapidly and heavily.  While there have been some reductions in flows upstream from the lake, I suspect that the lake will continue a rise for at least a couple more days.

The second big surprise was the effect on the roads around the township.  There are two roads that were closed due to having too much water on them making them unsafe for driving.  Constant Lake Road, west of Highway 41 was closed and Corrigan Road in the Silver Lake area.  Both roads are improving but remain closed.  They are being regularly monitored and will be reopened by the Public Works Manager when conditions clear.

Additionally there are several roads throughout the Township that have/had various amounts of water encroaching on them as well as washouts.  Most of these are also improving.  Public Works continues to evaluate and repair these roads.

With the expectation of 5-10mm of rain tomorrow and the risk of showers Thursday and Friday there is a great deal of uncertainty as to how much levels will change over the next few days.  Had it not been for the heavy rainfall I suspect we would have gone through freshet without any serious issues.

The heavy rains of Thursday and Friday, and the melt they accelerated, were the main cause of these extraordinary conditions.  Rise Rates for Golden Lake over the last three days have ranged from 12-15 cm.  If this rate of rise continues Golden Lake will reach 2017 “first peak” levels by Thursday or Friday.

Based on this information and the request from a small number of residents requesting sandbags I believe it is prudent to have a quantity of sandbags pre-filled and stockpiled in the event levels continue to rise.

Opeongo high School has reached out to the Township to prepare sandbags for our use., and we have accepted their offer.  Public Works staff are delivering sand and sandbags to the school which they will fill Tuesday or Wednesday.  Sandbags will then be stored at Township Works location(s) for distribution should they be needed.

We have a reasonable stockpile of bags in storage and will be ordering more to replace those being used to ensure an adequate supply.

Over the last week the CAO, Public Works Manager, Fire Chief and I have been in regular contact to ensure that we can provide needed assistance in a timely manner.  We have kept the Mayor advised of our actions.

The next few days will tell the tale.  I am tracking Golden Lake and Constant Lake levels on a hourly basis to look for changes in rates.  I am hoping that the rate of rise slows but until I see data that supports that scenario I am planning on the side of caution.  We are being pro-active as opposed to being reactive.

On a personal note I would like to acknowledge and thank both the managers and their respective personnel for acting as a true team, pulling together to get the job done.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate.

Doug

Doug Buckwald, CEMC

Bonnechere Valley Township

613-635-3579 cell

cemc@eganville.com

833-899-5505 (24 Hr Secure Fax)