Our Mission & History

Puslinch Lake Ontario PLCA

The Puslinch Lake Conservation Association is a community based charitable organization, led by a team of dedicated volunteers, committed to the environmental restoration and natural habitat of Puslinch Lake.



Puslinch Lake is the largest kettle lake in North America. A kettle lake is formed as a result of blocks of dead ice left from glaciers that have become surrounded by sediment. Nature likes to turn kettle lakes into wetlands by a process called eutrophication. This means that because kettle lakes are landlocked, and without a flushing system, aquatic vegetation grows and decays, and then deposits the decayed material on the lake bottom in the form of sediment. The sediment then becomes fertilizer for the following year's crop of vegetation. This causes a snowball effect until the lake is sediment-filled and eventually becomes a bog.

The Puslinch Lake Conservation Association was founded to be a guardian over Puslinch Lake so that all lake users and residents would work harmoniously to save the lake. The association was formed in 1997 by Doreen Tschanz, sons Alan & Terry, Jeff McClintock, Dennis Snow, and Jim Simpson. Their goal was to improve and enhance Puslinch Lake for all residents and lake users. Understanding there were concerning issues regarding the lake, this group approached Government and government agencies were approached for funding. Newspaper articles were to bring awareness to the PLCA efforts, and Lake residents and non-residents began sending donations to help save the Lake. Membership of the PLCA grew to more than 350 within the first year of inception.

Puslinch Township became aware of the PLCA's mission, resulting in government agencies and local members of parliament joining the PLCA. A Technical Committee, chaired by then-Mayor Brad Whitcombe was formed. A $12,000.00 grant was obtained from a "Fish & Wildlife Enhancement Fund" in 1999. This grant enabled core samples to be taken of lake sediment to be analyzed. Puslinch Township contributed over $60,000.00 towards payment of consulting services and other expenses.

Dredging deep holes for fish habitat originated with the M.N.R. In 1999, ten Lake residents purchased the original dredge and a 1000 feet of the 12-inch discharge pipe. The Technical Committee decided that the PLCA needed an Adaptive Management Plan as part of the environmental assessment. The PLCA obtained a $25,000.00 Trillium Foundation grant and had the Ministry of Environment compile the "Puslinch Lake Adaptive Management Plan" (PLAMP).

A pilot program to dredge approximately 1000 feet near McClintock's westerly ski run was tested in 2000. From 2001 - 2006 no dredging was done due to not being able to obtain the necessary permits.

Dredging resumed from 2007 to 2009 with a minimal amount of success using the 1000 foot discharge pipe method. In 2013 a different concept and equipment were introduced that required no long pipe. A barge, (dredger) and tug boat were now able to go into various areas around the lake (if the water level could support the barge's 5-foot draft).

2015 had been the most successful year to date. In 2016 the preparation between Big Island and Schell Island/Harvey Island got underway, making a deep channel, and removing some large boulders so that the dredge could maneuver through the waterway enabling passage to the eastern portion of the Lake.

It is hoped that permits will be renewed for upcoming years, enabling the dredge to continue to eastern and north shore areas of the lake for removal of the build-up of sediment.