If you ‘Love Your Lake,’ look after it

 Love Your Lake Program

Do you Love Your Lake? Do you love to sit on the shoreline and look out across the water and see the reflection of trees on the other side? What about swimming? Canoeing? Boating? fishing? Or simply just being at the lake?

 

We all share our love for Muskoka and we have a shared responsibility to look after it. Do you know what you can do to look after your part of the lake and make sure that your children can enjoy the lake as much as you do? Get your lake involved in the “Love Your Lake” program and find out.

 

One of the most sensitive habitats in Muskoka, the shoreline, is also one of the most sought after. Many people come to Muskoka to enjoy their little piece of the shoreline. However, we are not the only ones who make use of it.

 

Plants, microorganisms, insects, amphibians, birds and mammals can all be found within the first 10 to 15 metres of land surrounding our lakes and rivers. In fact, this area can be up to 500% more diverse than areas found upland. Healthy shorelines also protect the quality of our water so that we can use it for drinking and recreational activities such as swimming and paddling.

 

These plants and critters are important to the health of your lake. Plants reduce erosion and cool the water. Insects, amphibians and birds help maintain a natural balance.

 

So how can we protect the sensitive shoreline habitat found in Muskoka? With the “Love your Lake’ program!

 

In a nutshell, here’s what “Love Your Lake” is about. Trained technicians survey all the properties on a lake taking photographs of every waterfront property. Each property is then evaluated against a set of criteria of lake stewardship practices and each property owner receives a confidential report for their property.

 

This program is spearheaded by the Centre for Sustainable Watersheds (CSW) and the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) with the assistance of five regional organizations and funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

 

Love Your Lake is being delivered across the province in five regions, including Renfrew County, Eastern Ontario, Kawartha & Haliburton, Greater Sudbury, and Muskoka.

 

The intent of these assessments is to engage shoreline property owners in activities to protect their lake. The assessments will NOT be used for any regulatory purposes, and the information collected will not be shared on an individual property basis with anyone. The information collected is for the property owner only, in order to provide simple actions that can be taken to help protect the health of the lake.

 

The 2013 Muskoka Love Your Lake program is being carried out on Leonard Lake, Peninsula Lake and Fairy Lake. Program participants include Muskoka Watershed Council, The District Municipality of Muskoka, EcoMuskoka Conservation, University of Waterloo, Leonard Lake Stakeholders Association, Peninsula Lake Association, and Fairy Lake Association.

 

The participation of local lake associations is essential for conducting a successful program. If you are interested in having the Love Your Lake program carried out on your lake in the future and have a lake association willing to get involved and provide volunteers, please contact info@muskokawatershed.org to have your lake added to the list.

 

Past articles are available in this blog under the Watershed Notes Articles category or under Past Articles in the Resources section.