Founded by Gordon Kohl, Peter Kohl and Herbert Mitchell in 1967 and incorporated in 1968, Memphremagog Conservation Inc. (MCI) is a not-for-profit organization now in its 41st year of caring for the health of Lake Memphremagog and its surroundings. Showing the way to environmental protection 1967-2008.
Today with a membership base of 500 households, MCI represents an enrolment of about 1200 individual members. Expenses for MCI activities are almost completely covered by membership donations as support from the municipalities around the lake.
In its early years MCI participated in developing anti-pollution bylaws in effect today in many localities in Québec. The first training courses for sanitary inspectors were given in collaboration with MCI in the early 1970?s. MCI financed sanitary inspections for the municipalities bordering on the lake until 1980.
Some more recent initiatives include:
- 2013-2014 MCI participated in a project assessing the impact of waves created by wakeboard type boats on the shorelines of Lakes Memphremagog and Lovering, in collaboration with the Société de conservation du Lac Lovering and the University of Quebec at Montreal.
- 2012 MCI publishes an inventory of pleasure boats in the Canadian sector of the lake. This study, completed over the course of the summers of 2009 and 2010, counted the number and type of boats found in marinas and private residences on the lake.
- 2012 The Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) negotiated an agreement allowing for the first forestry conservation servitude in Quebec on a 500 hectare property as a result of a partnership with MCI, the Appalachian Corridor and Champigny Forest Products Inc.
- 2009 to present MCI initiates a program aiming at the protection of natural landscapes in the watershed, the objective being to encourage private property owners to participate in the conservation of natural landscapes on their property, either via private nature reserves or other long term arrangements. Three conferences and numerous meetings have taken place with property owners in Georgeville and Austin, drawing more than 90 participants. In 2011, MCI completed 5 ecological assessments of private properties covering more than 500 hectares of land. Pamphlets on conservation as well as one explaining the different legal protection options were produced and distributed to MCI members and to the local municipalities.
- 2009-2011 MCI provided financing for the study of the water quality of the Johns and Black rivers. Situated in Vermont, the black river is a major tributary of Lake Memphremagog, and the Johns river shows worrying signs of pollution.
- 2009 MCI tables an important memorandum with revisions to the urban plan.
- 2008-2010 A biologist hired by MCI provided more than 150 free consultations on shoreline restoration.
- 2008The launch and distribution of 1200 copies of the A Guide for watershed residents. Re-naturalization of 110 meters of shoreline at Weir Beach Park in Ogden with the planting of 600 bushes and other plantings recommended for shorelines. Re-naturalization of 100 meters of shoreline at Point Audet in Magog, in partnership with the city of Magog, and RAPPEL, and COGESAF. Participation in a television children’s show for Ontario television. Hired three patrollers who were on the lake from May to September.
- 2007 MCI produced a short film "A Guide for watershed residents" made by the filmmaker IsamëlAuray. MCI also participated in the accomplishment of its other film, "Sauveteurd’O", made on the lake and which is the story of an MCI- RAPPEL Operation Healthy Lake study. We gave many television and radio reports about the cyanobacteria problem. MCI participated in many conferences on cyanobacteria with the lakes associations, and we distributed a brochure on that subject made by RAPPEL, in collaboration with MCI, called ¨Problems with Cyanobacteria? Remember, you are part of the solution!¨ Distributed a memoire at the BAPE public hearing on "Enlargement of the Bestant garbage site".
- 2006Organized a symposium with the mayors, counsellors and town inspectors. MCI has continued to play a major role in the Coalition SOS PARC ORFORD which is fighting to protect the integrity of Mont-Orford national park. More then 86 000 signatures were collected, as well as 115 associations and many groups have voiced their support of the Coalition to protect the park. Finally, we wrote a Plan of actions to fight cyanobacteria. This report was presented to all the municipalities and the MRC Memphremagog.
- 2004-2005 MCI launched its Operation Healthy Lake-Phase I study to catalogue aquatic plants and sediment deposits in 100 meter sections at one, two and three meter depths along the entire Canadian shoreline. This was the largest and most expensive study of this type ever conducted on the Lake.
- 2004 MCI was the first environmental organization to speak out and attend every hearing to protest the proposed expansion to the Coventry, Vt. dump site.
- 2002-2005 MCI spearheaded a successful campaign to protect the integrity of Mont-Orford National Park from a threat stemming from an exchange of park lands for a development project to accommodate the construction of 1400 condos, two hotels, parking for 3200 cars etc... Which, among other things, would have resulted in loss of unique forest and threatened Castle Brook with increased sediment and consequent damage to Magog Bay. Activities for this campaign, entitled SOS Park Orford, included presentations at BAPE hearings, organizing an environmental group to collect over 8000 signed petitions and making two presentations to two ministries in Québec City.
- 2002 MCI initiated a Lake Patrol educational program to interact with children in summer day camps around the Lake with over 500 children reached so far.
- 2000 A Code of Ethics brochure promoting responsible lake behavior was printed and distributed by MCI and has been adopted by all lakeshore municipalities.
- 1999-2004 MCI with other organizations and concerned individuals stopped the expansion of the Intersan (Bestan) dump site.
Earlier initiatives have included:
- 1987 MCI organized a successful petition signed by over 6000 citizens to halt the plans of a Calgary company to establish a houseboat rental business.
- 1985 MCI organized a letter-writing campaign involving over 2600 persons condemning an American plan to build a nuclear waste site in Northern Vermont. This opposition along with the efforts of another organization caused the project to be shelved.
- 1972 MCI organized the Youth Patrol, today called The Lake patrol to better reflect the hiring of students enrolled in or graduated from environmental studies.
- 1970 Engaged team from Bishop’s University to perform an inventory of septic facilities and an evaluation of coliform contamination. Eleven maps evaluated over 1000 individual resident septic systems around the lake.
- 1969 Commissioned Raymond Desroches, biologist, University of Sherbrooke to establish the quality of lake water.