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  • Writer's pictureNII

Fairy Lake ecology project targets invasive species

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

NII, Saugeen Shores and University of Waterloo experts team up to improve the lake’s water quality

Two researchers in aquatic ecology will begin a study that aims to find ways to control invasive species and restore the health of Southampton’s beloved Fairy Lake. The work will be conducted under a new research project launched by the Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) and the Town of Saugeen Shores.

Dr. Rebecca Rooney and Dr. Heidi Swanson of the University of Waterloo’s Department of Biology will conduct a biological assessment of the lake’s water quality, fish, plants, and sediment. They will also explore remedial actions to control the invasive Common Carp and Curly-leaf Pondweed that are choking the lake’s natural systems.

The Common Carp were introduced from Europe in the 19th century, while the Curly-leaf Pondweed is of Eurasian origin and has spread across North America, with particular concentration in the Great Lakes region.

The ecological restoration project will be administered by the NII’s Environment@NII program and funded with a $25,000 contribution from Bruce Power, with the remaining $30,000 coming from the Town of Saugeen Shores and University of Waterloo; an application to Mitacs will be submitted to cover student stipends.

The Waterloo researchers are being brought in after previous attempts to control the invasive species proved unsuccessful. The new project may include a feasibility study into a potential restoration plan for the lake, as well as engaging the local community in caring for its long-term health.

“Invasive species and poor water conditions have plagued freshwater habitats in locations across Canada,” said NII’s Chief Innovation Officer Eric Johnston, who oversees the Environment@NII program.

“The funding from Bruce Power will support research by these talented researchers out of the University of Waterloo and use Fairy Lake as an example of how we can counteract problems like invasive species that have a terrible effect on the lake’s ecology,” added Johnston.

“Fairy Lake is an ecological landmark in Saugeen Shores and, as a company that’s committed to sustainability, Bruce Power is excited to help fund this project with a goal of restoring it to its natural state,” said John Peevers, Director, Community, Media Relations & Economic Development at Bruce Power.

“Control of invasive species requires a long-term commitment from the community and this partnership provides the opportunity to develop innovative approaches," said Dr. Cherie-Lee Fietsch, Environment Regulatory & Research Manager at Bruce Power. "We are also working with the Invasive Phragmites Control Centre (IPCC) led by Dr. Janice Gilbert, with a wealth of knowledge on wetland ecology as well as the with Historic Saugeen Métis (HSM) with a long history and connection to this natural waterbody, which drains in the Saugeen River.”

Learn more about other Environment@NII research projects by visiting


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