The gems of Brome Lake’s watersheds

Donald Joyce, Renaissance Brome Lake

Brome Lake is a magnet; from its agricultural beginnings, it has drawn citizens who respect the natural charm and beauty of the area. The lake is the treasure we admire every day, but it is only as healthy and sustainable as the waters that flow down to it through its watershed.

With the lake as our crown jewel, our 468 ponds are the smaller gems of our watershed. Thirty-three of them were formed naturally and one hundred and eighty-four of the ponds drain into Lake Brome. Combined they cover an area of 1.4 square kilometres, compared to Brome Lake’s surface area of 14.5 square kilometres.

This year Renaissance Brome Lake (RBL) is launching a project to highlight these gems. The objective is to raise awareness of the importance of ponds in the water system and the benefits of ecological pond management. RBL will combine community awareness with support and guidance for pond owners and caretakers.

The ultimate pond:

• Has a gently sloped, 5 to 15 meters buffer of native plants to filter fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals from runoff.

• Has a meandering shore that is thick with native plants to provide ducks, turtles and other wildlife with a place to shelter.

• Has both shallow and deep ends, inviting and sustaining a diversity of plants and wildlife.

• Has 50% aquatic plants and is 50% plant-free, providing ideal oxygenation.

• Has a band of higher grasses and plants around the pond. This limits access for geese and the concerns that accompany them.

• Has larger trees surrounding it that provide shade and moderate the temperature of the pond in the summer, limiting algae outbreaks.

As part of the Pond awareness project, we want to recognize the best ponds in the Brome lake watershed. At the end of the year, RBL will recognize the best small pond (less than 1,000 sq.m.) and the best large pond in the Lake Brome watershed. If you would like to nominate a pond, please send a note with the location and pictures to