MCI’s Holds Annual Meeting; A Busy Year For The Protection Of Lake Memphremagog

Downtown Newport City is surrounded by Lake Memphremagog and South Bay as seen from this aerial photograph looking southeast at the city dock area. (File Photo)

MAGOG — Memphremagog Conservation Inc. held its 53rd annual general meeting via videoconference Saturday, allowing the members to get an update on MCI’s efforts to protect Lake Memphremagog.

To open the meeting, Robert Benoit, MCI’s volunteer president, emphasized the particular circumstances of this summer, resulting in a larger than normal number of Quebeckers using the waterways. The continual increase in the power and size of boats has been one of the main issues facing Lake Memphremagog over the past 30 years, and 2020 has seen an increase in the use of motorboats on the lake, bringing with it environmental impacts, among others noise pollution, bottom sediments entering the water column, damage to sensitive areas and the spread of the zebra mussel and other exotic invasive species, reported Benoit.

In Canada, boating is under federal jurisdiction and over the years very few waterways in this country have been able to regulate this practice for environmental reasons. In order to promote harmonious cohabitation of the different users of the lake, MCI will be writing a position paper which will be forwarded to regional elected officials, which will outline the efforts that have been made over the past 30 years to regulate boating activities.

MCI’s 2019-2020 season saw the completion of several large-scale projects. A study of phosphorus loading in Lake Memphremagog, mandated by the International Joint Commission, was published and forwarded to the Canadian and American governments after 2 years of work carried out in collaboration with a dozen experts in the field, and coordinated by MCI and the Memphremagog Watershed Association (MWA). A binational angler survey initiated in 2018 and supervised by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department was carried out. More than 10,000 interviews with anglers were conducted on Lake Memphremagog to gather data on Memphremagog’s sport fishery. In conjunction with the group DUMP, MCI managed to obtain a four-year moratorium on the dumping and treatment of leachate from the Coventry landfill site in the Lake Memphremagog watershed. Finally, the MCI patrol carried out zebra mussel inventories at 40 different locations around the lake to document their presence, and have collected more than 12,000 zebra mussels to control their spread.

Board of Directors 2020-2021

During the meeting, MCI’s members also appointed their new Board of Directors for 2020-2021, which will be composed of: Robert Benoit, Douglas Coutts, Louis-Philippe Cyr, Santiago Doyon, Jean-Claude Duff, Gisèle Lacasse Benoit, Johanne Lavoie, Peter Lépine, Eric Phendler, Olivier Provost-Barsalou and Catherine Roy.

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