Healthy Shorelines for Healthy Lakes
Property owners undoubtedly love their beautiful shoreline properties. Fond memories with family and friends are formed during special times on the water. Legendary fish fries, epic paddling adventures, amazing bonfires, and stunning displays of stars are many of the great benefits of owning a shoreline property. But did you know that the shoreline properties where these lifelong memories grow from, are also the very properties that can keep our lakes clean and healthy? The Love Your Lake program protects these precious places and provides shoreline property owners and lake groups with resources on how to maintain naturally beautiful shorelines.
A healthy buffer of native trees and shrubs can have several benefits to the land and water, including:
- Maintaining water quality;
- Moderating temperatures;
- Creating wildlife habitat;
- Mitigating flood frequency and impacts;
- Reducing erosion; and
- Maintaining or increasing property values.
Natural buffers of native trees and shrubs can reduce pollution from entering the lake, thus keeping the freshwater healthy and safe. The shade generated by native plants can provide healthy lake temperatures while also giving fish and wildlife food, protection, rearing and resting sites. Strong roots bind the soil in place along the shoreline, absorb additional water, and redistribute it, reducing the potential for excess flooding and mitigating climate change impacts. Plant roots anchor the soil in place which reduces erosion and property loss. A naturalized shoreline is easy, long lasting, and requires minimal maintenance. By creating a resilient shoreline with a natural buffer you can help protect the overall water quality, reduce property loss, and contribute to a healthy and vibrant lake community.
Without a natural healthy buffer, excess nutrients can contribute to unwanted growth of aquatic vegetation, cause algal blooms, create unsafe water, and lead to destruction created by unwanted geese populations. Particles and eroding soils can cause property loss, reduce water clarity, and, over time, the particles can increase the rate of sedimentation. This can cause the lake to become more shallow and thus change the overall lake environment. Healthy trees and shrubs with varying heights, leaves, berries, fruits, and flowers can provide essential sources of food and shelter for many species of wildlife. The shoreline environment – the very link between the land and water – is used by over 90% of all aquatic life at some point during their lives. Ultimately, keeping our shorelines healthy maintains the ribbon of life and keeps our lakes healthy for the future.
About the Love Your Lake Program
Watersheds Canada wanted to help shoreline property owners make this connection: that they can enjoy their shoreline properties even more, by maintaining natural and beautiful shorelines. But how can owners keep their properties natural, while still enjoying their magnificent waterfront views? This is the question answered by Love Your Lake, a program developed by the Canadian Wildlife Federation and Watersheds Canada.
Love Your Lake is a modified and updated version of a scientific protocol developed by MAPLE (Mutual Association for the Protection of Lake Environments) in the 1980s. Watersheds Canada had been using a modified shoreline assessment protocol for over a decade to generate personalized property reports for each shoreline property owner on a given lake. These reports contain key observations and recommendations for a more natural property, which benefits the overall health of the lake. We originally dubbed it “Shoreline Assessments,” which we now realize wasn’t catchy at all! However, the uptake for this program was incredibly encouraging, and we were fortunate to partner with the Canadian Wildlife Federation to update the assessment process and brand and broaden the program to what it is today!
Learn More about Love Your Lake
Learn more about the Love Your Lake shoreline assessment program by visiting loveyourlake.ca. Unsure if your shoreline property requires some TLC? Visit our quick online shoreline self-assessment tool at loveyourlake.ca/self-assessment which will provide you with helpful tips to keep your shoreline property happy and healthy for future generations. We also encourage you to show your lake some love online by using #LoveYourLake to tag your photos, stories, and videos of your lake adventures!
Funding for Love Your Lake is provided by the Rogers Foundation and Canadian Wildlife Federation.