SAGE is a coordinating mechanism for the Thirty-One Mile Lake watershed which includes Lake Pemichangan and the lakes south of it. The acronym for its name is significant since SAGE is the French word for WISE and the mission of this group, which brings all the key players in our area around a single table, is the wise planning and environmental management of the lakes and the critical areas surrounding them. This area is known as the watershed and is essentially the land whose water drains into our lake system. Clearly everything happening in this area can have an impact on the lake and we must be concerned about it.
In the past year, the Municipality of Lac Ste Marie (LSM), which until recently had participated as an observer at SAGE, was welcomed as a full participating member. LSM has, for some time, been very supportive of the environmental initiatives of our association participating on the Action Group, which was a forerunner of SAGE for Lake Pemichangan, and by funding the FLP for the cleaning and maintenance of campsites on our lake. The delightful chain of small lakes south of Pemichangan are in the LSM jurisdiction and within the watershed covered by SAGE.
Last year was a busy and productive year for SAGE. In May an integrated Management Plan for the watershed area which had been commissioned by SAGE was completed. This subsequently led to a consensus by the members of SAGE on the creation of a inter-regional community park with a ecotourism mission which could contribute to sustainable development in the area. The shorefront inventory carried out on Lake Pemichangan to identify areas in need of restoration was one of the studies carried out in the preparation of this Plan.
The proposed park would include the public lands in the area while the private land would remain private property. As many of you are aware, there is a great deal of public land in this area and your association has taken a keen interest in these lands to ensure that the carrying capacity of Pemichangan is considered in any land use decisions within the watershed. Creation of an inter-regional park would protect these important areas.
With the input and support of the members of SAGE, a funding proposal has been submitted to the Quebec Government to develop such a park under the Rural Laboratories initiative which will fund 25 projects over the next six years for up to $100,000 a year each to implement cooperative community projects in rural areas. A letter of intent was submitted and approval received to develop a full proposal which went forward in December 2007. We will keep you posted on the response to this important initiative by SAGE