Location: Puslinch Lake, Ontario, Canada - co-ordinates - 43 degrees, 25'2.6" N by 80 degrees 15'56.3" W Max. length - 2.012 km, Max. width - 0.805 km, Surface area = 156 km. [ 385 acres ] Surface elevation: 303 m., Max. depth - 15 m. Average depth - 1.5 m. Water volume - 2,270,000 m.
It is the largest Kettle lake in North America. Depths of up to 40 feet have been recorded during dredging. The Lake is fed by springs and surface run-off (rain), and has only one outlet. Puslinch Lake is considered a eutrophic lake, and very high in nutrient content.
The Puslinch Lake Conservation Association was founded to be a guardian over Puslinch Lake so that all lake users and residents would work harmoniously for the benefit of 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. Government, and government agencies were approached for funding. Newspaper articles brought more awareness to the PLCA efforts, and Lake residents, as well as non-residents, began sending donations to help save the Lake. Membership grew to more than 350 within the first year of inception.
Puslinch Township became aware of the PLCA's blight and other government agencies and local members of parliament joined the PLCA and created a Technical Committee, chaired by then Mayor Brad Whitcombe. 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. 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. Ten Lake residents purchased the original dredge and a 1000 feet of 12-inch discharge pipe in the fall of 1999. The Technical Committee decided that the PLCA needed an a 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).
Nature likes to turn kettle lakes, of which Puslinch Lake is the largest in North America (wikipedia) into wetland by a process called eutrification. This means that because kettle lakes are land locked, 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.
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 (unable to get permits from various government services).
Dredging took place from 2007 to 2009 with a minimal amount of success using the 1000 foot discharge pipe method. In 2013 a different concept, and equipment was used, a barge, (dredger) and a 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). This meant no long pipe behind the dredger, limiting the distance it could travel. 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.
2017 has arrived, and it is hoped that permits will be renewed, enabling the dredge to continue to the eastern area of the lake to start removal of the build up of sediment.