The beaches are starting to look like football fields.
Lake Nipissing is shrinking at a rapid rate this summer. The body of water has fallen another eight cm since mid-July and more than 50 cm below the normal operating levels and there's a chance that it'll continue to drop.
So what's the reason behind the sharp decline? Chris Dawson, a freelance reporter with The Weather Network says it's all about the weather. “I haven't seen a summer in the North Bay area (since the mid 1990's) where we've had so much sun and such little rain. The reality is that we've had tremendously warm temperatures, and very little precipitation leading to evaporation, which is a problem for a lake as shallow as Lake Nipissing.” Dawson also points out that this is one of the worst situations the lake has been in since there was a drought in 1999.
With the shortage of water, it's looking a lot more like a massive beach than a lake, “you have to make a jaunt now to the shore, and for those homes with flood barriers, they're out about 50 to 100 metres from where the water starts,” explains Dawson.
One of the major environmental concerns with the dwindling levels was the ability for fish spawning to occur. Thankfully, the shallow waters didn't impact fish populations, and spawning did take place.
However, the vast stretches of beach have done little to help boaters. Sailboat operators are struggling to launch because the lake is so shallow and rocks and branches are becoming a hazard for maneuverability. As Dawson notes, it's also having an impact on visitors to the lake, “the word is getting out about the low levels, and this is hurting tourism.”
Could the worst be yet to come? Phil Hall, a lands and water specialist with the Ministry of Natural Resources, says that the lake level may drop even further if the hot and dry conditions persist. Hall also dispelled any rumours that dams controlling outflow from the lake had been adjusted.
With files from The Nugget