Torch Lake gets its own island

By Ragnar Haagen
August 31, 2011 - 6:43am

Some residents at of Torch Lake have seen their waterfront properties grow over the past few weeks.

A large vegetative area of the lake has somehow broken free from its bank and has been floating around. The area looks like a small island and has come to a rest in front of several properties.

“I’ve never seen this in the time that I’ve lived on the lake, at least not in this particular area,” said Ernie Paydli, a local resident.

“In the spring you can sometimes see vegetation coming in on one of the creeks that lead into Candle Lake, but never a mass of this size.”

The floating mass of vegetation is sitting in front of three properties, including his, and seems to be stationary for the moment, he said.

The chunk of land, roughly an acre in size has been described as a phragmite, by Dwayne Rowlett, with the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority.

“A phragmite is a vegetative mat created by the grasses that grow on it. When water levels get high, such as they have with Candle Lake this year, it will lift the phragmites up and they’ll start to float around,” said Rowlett.

“They’re actually quite common in marshy type environments and we deal with them every year. At times we have removed city block sized areas of phrags.”

Rowlett said there a couple of different ways to look at this particular situation, but stresses that phragmites don’t pose any great dangers. However, if water levels are to drop, they can become stuck until the levels rise again.

“If the phrags are moving around with the wind, and you get this giant floating mass, anything between that and the shoreline could become a problem,” said Rowlett.

“The other problem is if it ends up coming up Fisher creek, which runs between Torch Lake and Candle Lake. If it blocks off that entrance, it may become the only real concern.”

Paydli said he isn’t too worried about recent addition to his property.

“We’ll just let nature run its course and go from there,” he said.

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