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Maintaining the health of Alberta's lakes is everyone's responsibility. As Alberta’s population continues to grow, there is increasing human use of the lake watershed, the land that drains into the lake. This, together with climatic variability, means that Albertans must consider new ways to protest our lakes to ensure they stay healthy for years to come.
Whether you live in a lake watershed, right on the shoreline, or just visit for recreational purposes, there are many actions we can take! Here are some examples of what you can do:
Stewardship in the lake watershed
- Maintain natural vegetation such as native trees and shrubs – they are much easier to care for than a lawn and will filter out pollutants and nutrients!
- Don’t use lawn fertilizers because they add excess nutrients that feed nuisance algae.
- Plant native plants and shrubs on your property in places where soil is exposed. Watch for invasive species and report invaders to: https://www.eddmaps.org/alberta/.
- Prevent rainwater and snow melt from washing pollutants into the lake. Reduce non-permeable surfaces like pavement and redirect runoff towards vegetation or a rain barrel.
- Have your septic system inspected regularly and empty septic tanks as recommended, or connect to municipal sewer system.
- Keep your “wheels out of water” – off-highway vehicles are prohibited on the bed and shore of waterbodies.
Stewardship on the shore
- Leave the shoreline in its natural condition – shoreline vegetation provides habitat for fish and wildlife, maintains water quality by filtering runoff and protects the shoreline against erosion. It is illegal to do any shoreline modification below the bank without written authorization from Environment and Parks.
- Aquatic plants are not “weeds” – let them grow! Submerged aquatic vegetation compete with algae for nutrients and light, trap sediment and provide important wildlife habitat. Removal requires written authorization.
- Keep your beach natural, don’t plow it or add sand.
- Pick up dog poop and flush it or throw it in the garbage. This will help prevent harmful bacteria and phosphorus from entering the lake.
Stewardship in the water
- Watch your wake! Keep motorized sports far from shore to prevent erosion and protect bird nests.
- Obey the law – keep boat speeds under 10km/hr within 30m of the shoreline and follow posted speed limits.
- Keep music and boat noise to a minimum.
- Clean Drain Dry Your Gear to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and diseases.
- Dispose of waste properly. Identify your ownership of ice fishing huts and remove them before the end of the season.
- Wash your pets, vehicles and off-highway vehicles at designated wash stations away from the lake.