Lakes of the Cataraqui Region

There are more than 170 lakes within the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority’s (CRCA) jurisdiction. Our lakes provide recreational opportunities, sources of drinking water, habitat for wildlife and are a cornerstone of many local businesses. The CRCA is responsible for providing environmental leadership and service to local communities to conserve important natural features like lakes. The CRCA is one of 36 watershed-based agencies within Ontario dedicated to the conservation and protection of the natural environment through a variety of management tools including land ownership, education, monitoring, reporting and regulation.

Use the map below to find Cataraqui Region Lakes.

Lake Protection Workbook

The Lake Protection WLake Protection Workbook Coverorkbook was created as a self-assessment tool that acts as an excellent educational resource; it helps property owners living along a lake shoreline understand how their actions might be affecting their lake and provides helpful tips on how to improve the natural environment along their shoreline. By answering the questions and filling in various scoring criteria, the workbook helps explain how current property conditions and activities protect the lake. Download a copy of the Lake Protection Workbook.

The Lake Protection Workbook was a joint effort by a number of organizations through the Lake Links Planning Committee. This group is a partnership that includes the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, Friends of the Tay Watershed Association, Lake Networking Group, Lanark County Stewardship Council, Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and Watersheds Canada.


Cataraqui Region Lake Assessment Report

The CRCA has created a Lake Assessment Report to outline the importance, methods, and results of lake monitoring in the Cataraqui Region. As part of this work, individual lake fact sheets were produced for 45 lakes in the region that have information from 2009 to 2015. These fact sheets provide maps, note the physical features, assess water quality, identify the invasive species and outline aquatic diversity.

Additional lake fact sheets will be produced as more information becomes available.

Use the tabs below to view the Regional Lake Assessment Report and available individual Lake Fact Sheets. Lakes are grouped by watershed.

Lake Assessment Report Cover


The CRCA gathered information from a variety of sources to assess lake health and resilience of area lakes. Lakes are impacted by a range of natural and human influences. The Lake Assessment Report and the Lake Fact Sheets present assessment results of key parameters considering nutrient loading, invasive species colonization and acidification.

Upper Rock Lake


For further details on how to read the sections of the Lake Fact Sheets view our ‘How to Read a Fact Sheet’ document.

Fact Sheets are in PDF format.

Sydenham Lake


For further details on how to read the sections of the Lake Fact Sheet view our ‘How to Read a Fact Sheet’ document.

Fact Sheets are in PDF format.

Sydenham Lake


For further details on how to read the sections of the Lake Fact Sheets view our ‘How to Read a Fact Sheet’ document.

Fact Sheets are in PDF format.

Monitoring Lakes

There are many factors that influence our lakes including nutrient loading, invasive species and development pressure. By collecting information through lake monitoring programs, it is possible to accumulate enough data to be able to identify concerns, issues or special features.  This information is crucial for effective lake management.

There are numerous partnerships and programs that aim to collect and/or analyze lake data within the region. Some of these programs rely on volunteer sampling efforts. This valuable data supplements scientific research efforts by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, local academic institutions and the CRCA. In addition, there are several lake associations in the Cataraqui Region that have an active role in determining lake health and providing a cumulative voice for issues facing their respective lakes.

For more information about how you can help, see the citizen science and volunteer opportunities below.

water quality monitoring

Learn More:

Learn more about Algae. Kingston Field Naturalists, Cataraqui Conservation and Queen’s University hosted an online cyanobacteria workshop. Resources from that workshop are available below.

Workshop Part 1 – Research & Observations Video

Identifying Blue Green Algae – Video

Algae Identification Field Guide – PDF Download

Foldscope Tutorial – Video

Understanding Algal Blooms – Information from Florida Centre from Environmental Studies

How water moves through a watershed

Click image to view larger

A watershed is an area of land and water that drains to a common outlet. Everyone lives in a watershed! Rain and snowmelt flow over the land or through the ground to a stream or lake system. Homes, farms, cottages, forests, small towns, and big cities make up watersheds, with some crossing municipal, provincial and even international borders. Watershed shapes and sizes vary from millions of square kilometers, the land that drains into the Great Lakes, to a few acres draining into a small lake. The figure to the right illustrations how water moves within a watershed.

The majority of the lakes within the region are located in the Cataraqui River and Gananoque River watersheds; however, the Millhaven and Collins Creek watersheds contain lakes near their headwaters as well. Many of the Cataraqui Region Lakes were formed as a result of water becoming trapped by the rocky, rough terrain of the Canadian Shield and are valued by residents, visitors and wildlife.

Our unique landscape is constantly adapting to pressures from climate change, development, and the introduction of invasive species. To evaluate and protect our lakes, it is important to understand how a lake functions, including both natural and human influences.

Activities on upstream lakes, streams and ponds affect downstream waterbodies. Everything in a watershed is connected so that all activities have an effect on water quality and quantity. As water cycles through a watershed, it can dissolve and/or carry soil, debris and contaminants to a stream or lake. Modifications to the landscape such as paving, building constructions, and installation of other hard (impervious) surfaces changes how water flows over the land. The addition of hard surfaces limits the ability of water to soak into the ground, thereby increasing the risk of flooding since the direct path of streams has been removed. The CRCA’s area is composed of ten smaller watersheds that all drain toward the eastern end of Lake Ontario and the beginning of the St. Lawrence River.

The natural function of a like is driven by factors often described as inputs and outputs. Inputs include light (solar ultraviolet radiation), precipitation and atmospheric deposition, surface runoff (nutrients) including weathering of soils and bedrock providing calcium and other minerals, and groundwater discharge. Outputs include surface flow from the lake, evaporation from the water body and aquatic plants, and groundwater recharge.

Physical lake features, or lake morphometry, such as basin depth, surface area, and volume directly influence how the inputs are cycled and will determine the ecology of the lake environment. Processes within the lake such as mixing, heat absorption, and primary production are greatly influenced by all the above factors and together determine which community of organisms (e.g. algae) are found within the lake. Other influences on lakes include the introduction of invasive species, changes in weather patterns, and shoreline development.

Lake are dynamic systems that can reveal seasonal changes and host different communities of organisms within the local habitat. Sometimes these changes can stimulate the natural growth of algae, plants, bacteria, and microscopic organisms that may often be confused for pollution or other odd phenomena in the lake environment. Check out our fact sheet ‘What’s in the Water?’ for a summary of some common lake sightings that often raise questions in the Cataraqui Region.

Water Quality MonitoringCitizen science programs present opportunities for volunteers to participate in lake monitoring. Opportunities to assist with lake monitoring in the Cataraqui Region Include:

Other local events are often run by Ducks Unlimited, Kingston Field Naturalists, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Queen’s University Biology Station and others. Check their Water Quality Sample Bottlewebsite or sign up for their newsletters to find out more.

To learn more about lake monitoring efforts in the Cataraqui Region vie the ‘Detailed Summary of Lake Monitoring in the Cataraqui Region’ document.

Lake AssociationsCottage/Property AssociationsEnvironmental Centres
Battersea Loughborough Lake Association Birch Lake Property Owners’ AssociationElbow Lake Environmental Education Centre
Buck Lake AssociationDesert Lake Property Owners’ AssociationQueen’s University Biology Station (Opinicon Lake)
Chaffey’s Area Lake AssociationHungry-Rosal Cottagers’ Association
Charleston Lake AssociationKnowlton Lake Cottage Association
Colonel By Lake AssociationLong Lake Property Owners’ Community
Dog Lake AssociationNewboro-Loon Cottage Owners’ Association
Friends of Devil LakeNorth Troy Lake Property Association
Garter Lake AssociationOpinicon East Cottager’s Association
Gananoque River Waterway AssociationOpinicon Property Owners’ Community
Indian Lake AssociationSand Lake Estates Inc.
Inverary Lake AssociationTroy Lake Rate Payers Association
Little Franklin Lake AssociationThousand Islands Association
Lower Beverley Lake Association West Devil Lake Property Owners’ Group Inc.
North and South Otter Lake Association
Sydenham Lake Association