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