The most important contribution a cottage owner can make to protect the water quality of Bobs and Crow lakes is to create and maintain a natural and healthy shoreline.
Clearing away all natural vegetation down to the lake may make for an obstruction free view, but it significantly removes the natural barrier protecting the lake.
Some cottage owners wish to replicate the look of a city "back yard lawn" not realizing how harmful it is to the health of the lake.
Maintain a Shoreline Buffer
Often referred to as the “Ribbon of Life”, this strip of natural vegetation along the shoreline is recommended to be 30 meters or 100 feet. A strip of 10 meters or 30 feet is considered to be a bare minimum. The shoreline buffer intercepts harmful contaminants such as fertilizers and pathogens from reaching the water and also prevents the erosion of the banks which provide habitat for fish and other wildlife.
Lawns do not make very good buffers since over 55% of precipitation runs off a short lawn into the lake and turf grass has short root systems which does not bind the soil very well.
For a handy reference of what you can do to preserve your shoreline, click here: How to Love your Lake
Erosion caused by human activity causes a loss of valuable waterfront property.
The main causes to avoid are: removal of shoreline vegetation, boat wake, construction along the shoreline such as hard surface break walls and seating areas and heavy foot traffic.
For information on cash subsidies for shoreline restoration projects go to About Us/Foundation.
Maintain your Septic System
A malfunctioning septic can cause major problems from contaminating your well and your neighbours to polluting the lake.
Don’t use Fertilizers or Pesticides within 30 meters (100 feet) of the lake
Fertilizer contains nitrogen and phosphorous, both of which raise the nutrient levels in the water. High nutrient levels can lead to algae blooms of which blue green algae is of greatest concern. High nutrient levels are a sign of deteriorating water quality and are monitored annually by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and The Lake Partner program. The latter is funded by the Ontario Government and supported by GBCLA volunteers.
Dispose of Chemicals properly:
- Fuel motor craft responsibly to avoid spills directly or indirectly into the lake.
- Always bring extra chemicals, toxic substances and their empty storage containers to a hazardous waste depot. (See Garbage Dumps).
Build Low Impact Docks:
On Bobs and Crow lakes, owners can increase the habitat and reduce the sediment disruption along your shoreline by building a low impact dock. Examples are floating docks, cantilever docks that lift out of the water, and post style docks.
Don’t put Grass and Leaves into the Lake
Grass, leaves and pine needles are all organic material. When they decay, the add a substantial amount of nutrients into the water. When the organic matter decays and sinks to the bottom of the lake, they decrease the oxygen levels near the bottom.
These "dead zones" reduce habitat and can kill aquatic life. The added nutrients also feed aquatic weeds like Eurasian Milfoil. Put your clippings and leaves into a composter or leave them on a site well back from the shoreline.