Lake Simcoe, ON - Sheldon Stern
My Watermark is Lake Simcoe, ON.
Lake Simcoe is in Southern Ontario and is the fourth largest lake in all of Ontario. The watershed draining into the lake contains a population of roughly half a million people from the northern Greater Toronto Area. Often cold-water fish like whitefish, herring, and lake trout are abundant. In the winter the lake is sometimes known as the ice fishing capital of Canada. Like is home to a number of ice fishing competitions when it freezes over, making it one of the most fished lakes in Ontario. The lake is surrounded by summer cottages, resulting in heavy recreational boating use over the summer. The beaches around the lake also attract attention as they are warmer and cleaner than the beaches of Lake Ontario.
As mentioned above the lake is surrounded by summer cottages, and my family has had a cottage on the lake ever since my grandfather built one over 60 years ago. Since then my family has spent our summer up there, and the lake has been a big part of those summers. We use the lake to swim, kayak, and drive boats recreationally. Me, my dad, my grandfather, and another member of my family all learned to water ski in the lake. While up at the cottage we usually go for breakfast at one of the marinas on the lake, taking the boat to get there. The lake is important to me because most of my summer memories took place at my cottage, and most of my cottage experiences happened on or in the lake.
Lake Simcoe has experienced a number of environmental problems, one of which has been significant eutrophication. There has been a dramatic decline in some fish species as well as an increase in algae blooms, and aquatic weed growth. Phosphorus emissions have hurt the lake's ecosystem, fostered excessive aquatic plant growth, raising water temperatures, and decreasing oxygen levels. lake Simcoe has also seen a number of invading species like zebra mussels, purple loosestrife, black crappie, spiny water flea, round goby, rusty crayfish and Eurasian milfoil. Zebra mussels have been particularly harmful to the lake as they increase the water's clarity allowing more sunlight to reach the bottom of the lake and help more algae and aquatic weeds grow, accelerating the eutrophication process. Another harmful invasive species has been the Rainbow Smelt which has competed with the lakes native Lake Whitefish, partly causing its decline.