Recreation & Ecology

Handy resources to help you enjoy & understand the waterway

Thinking of planning a trip along our waterway, wondering about water depths or water quality,  where to go, how long it will take, what to see. There’s much to see here. So, take your time, look around, and learn all there is to know about Sand Lake and the Rideau System.

At a glance guide to the Rideau Canal

This is the perfect resource for planning a trip along the Rideau system, thanks to content assembled and curated by our very own Ken Watson.  Great resources are assembled here that allow you to understand the history, sights to see, rates, hours and local ecology.


Paddling Guide

If you have a few hours, or a few days, and want to experience the canal up close, here is Ken’s perfect resource for you to plan a paddle.


Parks Canada water level monitoring

 The water level of our lake is managed by Parks Canada  who determine the target water level for any given time of year— 

high in summer for navigation, low in winter/spring to provide capacity for the spring freshet.  

Parks Canada have recently opened up a section on their website which shows the current level of our lake (and past levels). 

Their gauge labeled Jones Falls is the level for Sand Lake.


Water Sampling

As a volunteer, Ken Watson has gathered and recorded fabulous information on the health of our lake, with comparisons to neighbouring lakes. Information allows us to see the impact of invasive species such as zebra mussels and other environmental influences.


LDD (formerly European Gypsy) Moth

LDD (formerly European Gypsy) Moth is an invasive species that can be destructive to our forests. Populations can vary over the years, and we appear to be recovering from a period of intense infestation.

Lanark County in partnership with the Invasive Species Centre and Eastern Ontario Model Forest, have produced a simple guide for residents to understand and deal with this invasive insect. A copy can be downloaded here.

LDD Moth Factsheet

Blue-Green Algae

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) in partnership with others has recently produced a great Algae and Aquatic Plant Educational Manual specific to our region and it covers much of what you see growing in our lakes. You’ll see information on regular and the potentially toxic forms of algae by page 2 of the material which can be found here:

Link to RVCA Aquatic Educational Manual

In certain conditions Blue-Green algae can form into a bloom and that can generate toxins that are quite harmful to humans and pets.

A bloom is a large mass or scum in the water. While often bluish-green in colour, it can also be just green or turquoise in colour. Blooms generally form in warm slow moving water and so are most often seen in late summer or early fall in our region. Most blooms are in fact non-toxic, but some can develop toxins.

blue-green algae1

Additional information on Blue-Green Algae can be found in our 2022 newsletter under our news and events tab above.  It should be noted that a verified toxic bloom has yet to occur on Sand Lake, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get one.  

If you suspect there is a toxic Blue-Green bloom present:

The only way to know if a bloom is toxic is to have it tested. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment does this testing. If you suspect a bloom is happening in your water, you can go to the Ministry’s site for great guidance material:

link to Ontario Ministry Blue-green-algae guidance

If you still suspect toxic blooms call MOE’s Pollution Reporting Hotline at 1-866-663-8477 to report it. They will send someone out to verify that it is a toxic bloom.

Lake and Watershed Facts:

The Cataraqui Conservation Authority (CCRA) works with partners to understand, communicate, and protect the health of the lakes.

CCRA and partners collect samples, take measurements, make comparisons against established standards, and characterize systems to identify significant changes, areas of concern and to highlight unique features.

A wealth of information is available  on the surrounding watershed and our lake itself using 13 tabs on the CRCA link below:

Link to CRCA Watershed Facts

If you are interested in a really handy “at a glance” review of Sand Lake itself,  click the 12th link on the CRCA web page above, center the map over Sand Lake and select the lake to see lake specific  facts that are updated from time to time.