Skip Navigation

Project Overview

Project Overview

The City of North Bay, North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA) and the Municipality of East Ferris are undertaking a Trout Lake Watershed and Management Plan. The project is split into 4 separate phases (Understanding, Directions, Planning and Implementation).

The purpose of this study is to establish policies and provisions that will help to protect and preserve Trout Lake, Four Mile Lake and associated inflowing streams. These policies and provisions will protect the quality of water and visual & aesthetic characters of the lakes. These policies and provisions will also preserve recreational, social and environmental experiences on the lakes.     

Trout Lake is North Bay’s source of municipal drinking water and is also the source of water for many of the
shoreline residents in North Bay and East Ferris.

An important part of phases 2 and 3 will be gathering input from the public, key stakeholders and relevant agencies. The study is taking a holistic approach and will be seeking comments from residents in North Bay and East Ferris. 

Between reports completed by J.L. Richards and Hutchinson Environmental, there are a total of 28 recommendations to improve on current practices and ultimately protect the health of the lake.

  1. Include guiding policies on climate change and its associated impacts regarding Trout Lake in both the North Bay and East Ferris Official Plans.

  2. Implement a hybrid approach to the Municipal Water Quality Objective (MWQO) by updating the MWQO for the Trout Lake Main Basin to 5.64 µg/L of TP and maintain the existing MWQO of 7.0 µg/L of TP for the Four Mile Basin in both the North Bay and East Ferris Official Plans.

  3. Remove all reference and prohibitions on lot creation associated with the 300 metre setback from Trout Lake within the North Bay and East Ferris Official Plans.

  4. Implement a Trout Lake Influence Area Overlay within the North Bay and East Ferris Official Plans, which would apply to all lands within 300 metres of the shoreline, islands, major inflowing streams and Four Mile Lake.

  5. Permit a limited number of new lots to be created in the Trout Lake Influence Area, subject to best management practices. This includes 70 lots in the Main Basin (42 in North Bay and 28 in East Ferris) and up to 20 lots in Four Mile Bay.

  6. Require development on existing, vacant legal lots of record to conform to updated development standards (e.g. setbacks and vegetative buffers) and best management practices.

  7. Implement parameters in both the North Bay and East Ferris Official Plans and Zoning By-laws to permit limited expansions of non-complying buildings and structures, as of right and subject to best management practices.

  8. Expand the policies in the North Bay's Official Plan regarding legal non-conforming minor variance applications to require administrative best practices be implemented on all minor variance applications and implemented through Site Plan Control.

  9. Include guidance on minor variance applications for legal nonconforming or complying uses to the East Ferris Official Plan. (Note: North Bay’s Official Plan policy already includes this guidance.)

  10. Require that all lots within the Trout Lake Influence Area Overlay be subject to Site Plan Control and establish site plan control applications requirements within the Official Plans for both North Bay and East Ferris.

  11. Establish consistent best management practices to be used in the site plan process in the North Bay and East Ferris Official Plans.

  12. Continue to prohibit Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs) in the study area.

  13. Permit sleep cabins, subject to site plan control and best management practices on waterfront lots. Establish sleep cabin development controls in the zoning by-laws for North Bay and East Ferris. (Note: Sleep cabins sometimes referred to as guest cabins or bunkies and are not considered a dwelling unit-they are accessory buildings used for temporary sleeping purposes.)

  14. Increase the parameter list for samples collected in Trout Lake to include emerging limnological issues (calcium and chloride) and explanatory variables (total suspended solids, dissolved organic carbon and phytoplankton).

  15. Implement a consistent sampling methodology, increase Quality Accuracy/Quality Control (QA/QC) procedures such as the collection of duplicate samples, and continue to use a water quality laboratory with a proven track record of delivering consistent low level TP results such as the Dorset Environmental Science Centre which has been utilized since 2013.

  16. Expand the water quality monitoring program to include inflowing tributaries and complete mass balance modelling to determine the phosphorus reduction efficiencies of each watercourse which can be used to help inform management decisions.

  17. Complete a thorough review of dissolved oxygen data that has been collected and develop a standardized and repeatable approach for collecting suitable data and calculating Mean Volume Weighted Hypolimnetic Disolved Oxygen (MVWHDO) concentrations in Four Mile Bay, Trout Lake – Main Basin, Turtle Lake and Lake Talon. NBMCA completed a thorough analysis of MVWHDO in 2018 in Trout Lake so that approach should be reviewed to determine if it can be adopted as a standardized assessment approach.

  18. Complete and distribute annual monitoring reports to the City of North Bay and East Ferris and include comparisons of data to Municipal and Provincial Water Quality Objectives to provide an ongoing dataset to inform planning policy.

  19. Develop a Lakeshore Capacity Model (LCM) and dissolved oxygen model for each of Turtle Lake and Lake Talon to quantify the impact of increased Total Phosphorous (TP) loads associated with the three development scenarios on TP concentrations and MVWHDO concentrations in Turtle Lake and Lake Talon. Combine the findings with updated MVWHDO evaluations in Turtle Lake and Lake Talon (Recommendation #4) and other available monitoring data to better determine downstream impacts.

  20. Sampling at Sites 2625 and 2685 should be reinitiated to establish the effectiveness of those septic systems.

  21. Examine the septic system monitoring results as they are received so that immediate corrective action can be taken in the event of missing samples or anomalous results.

  22. Follow up on the results for those systems not averaging at least 93% phosphorus removal by conducting more sampling and/or installing an additional piezometer at the furthest downgradient point in the tile field. (Note: For Minimum Impact Lots only)

  23. Develop a septic inspection program that provides a better understanding of system functionality than visual observations of obvious system failures, such as inspections completed during home inspections.

  24. Complete a thorough septic inspection on any short-term rentals to determine if the system can adequately treat wastewater generated by such uses.

  25. Develop a comprehensive and fulsome list of Best Management Practices (BMPs) and development standards that are automatically applied to all waterfront development applications so that a protective approach to development is implemented as part of all waterfront developments.

  26. Complete a review of septic system technologies such as the EcoFlo Biofilter and Waterloo Biofilter, and soil requirements for leaching bed systems that have proven to attenuate phosphorus (e.g. <1% CaCO3, >1% acid-extractable concentrations of iron and aluminum [MOE 2010]) to determine appropriate sewage system requirements that will minimize impacts on Trout Lake.

  27. An influx of new residents that value manicured lawns and are not familiar with waterfront BMPs and lake stewardship could negatively impact Trout Lake. Regulatory BMPs on existing and future development should be encouraged through education, stewardship and enforcement.
  28. Repeat the Trout Lake Management Study in the near future (e.g. 3-5 years) to assess the health of Trout Lake in response to ongoing climate change, effectiveness of BMPs, and progress related to the Recommendations provided here-in, utilizing any new updated lake capacity tools, so that appropriate changes to planning policy can be developed and implemented.

J.L. Richards and Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd. presented their reports to North Bay City Council on several occasions. This was a comprehensive review of their findings and their recommendations on the findings to date. For a complete timeline of the project, click here

Should you have any further comments or questions, please fill out the comment form or contact