Remediation of Planted Rice on Pigeon Lake.
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For ten years, one individual has chosen to use the Trent Severn Waterway for personal financial gain. He has put "thousands of pounds of seed" in the lake every year. The seed turns into rice which grows up to 4' above water level. The rice beds now occupy over 1,500 acres of water. The rice is then harvested using an air-boat in the fall.
While two small patches of rice existed some 60 years ago, the saturation of rice that exists today is not naturally occurring. The rice has killed off the weeds that were growing naturally in the water creating habitats for fish. In addition, water fowl require a strip of water to take off and land. The large expanses of rice make this impossible. They can now only take off and land in the small strips of water that have been cleared by homeowners.
The rice also makes it difficult, and in some places impossible, to navigate the waterway in a boat. Property values have decreased substantially.
We respect Canada's First Nations communities, their values and their rights. We acknowledge that these communities have the sole rights to harvest the rice through established treaties. But treaty rights only allow harvesting by "traditional methods", aka a canoe, not a air-boat. And their treaty rights do NOT allow for the seeding of the lake.
Parks Canada has created a "working group" in an attempt to address the issue but have had zero productivity.
We hereby call on our federal government representatives to take the following actions:
- stop the seeding on Pigeon and other lakes in the Trent Severn Waterway
- stop the harvesting by air-boat
- take steps to remove/reduce the rice that was illegally planted
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