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Are you a good lake steward?

Posted by on June 18, 2020

Perhaps with less gathering time planned, this is a prime opportunity to take stock of our stewardship. Are we really doing all we can to preserve our Muskoka Experience?

Here is a checklist to review. How do you rate as a steward of our precious earth and lakes?

Realize that nitrogen and phosphorus (nutrient pollution) come from person-made sources like:

  • Fertilizer runoff…. DON’T use chemical fertilizers
  • Sewage runoff from septic tanks…. GET them checked and pumped regularly
  • Grass clippings…. DON’T let them rot in a pile
  • Animal waste… PICK UP animal scat, including pets and geese
  • Fossil fuels… ENSURE proper engine maintenance and PURCHASE 4-stroke rather than 2-stroke engines — it all helps!
  • Soap and detergent wastes….USE phosphate-free and environmentally friendly/biodegradable products — AND NOT near the lake!
  • Contaminants — SEE proper disposal guidelines on the District of Muskoka website (contaminants put down storm drains can enter waterways)

Realize that through responsible property design and maintenance, we can reduce runoff:

  • MAINTAIN or re-establish  a shoreline buffer, using plants native to our area. Riparian (shore vegetation) buffers reduce the runoff of sediments and pollution.
  • MINIMIZE foot traffic near your shoreline.  It reduces soil oxygen and encourages water runoff.
  • KEEP natural areas as large as possible.  Avoid fragmentation.  Encourage wildlife corridors.
  • MAINTAIN natural forest floor coverings including brush and logs (& encourage wildlife).
  • USE Rain Barrels to collect water for gardens and reduce runoff.
  • HAVE Rain Gardens to collect roof runoff and grow plants while directing water to the soil.
  • CHOOSE permeable materials like mulch or chips or gravel to allow water infiltration.
  • USE vegetated shallow swales to slow runoff and filter it.  Berms re-direct it for infiltration.
  • During construction, MINIMIZE exposed soil and use straw bales or silt fencing to filter runoff

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