We love to recreate, reconnect with nature and spend time with family around fresh water. There is something ancient in our blood that draws us to the shorelines of rivers and lakes. Simply put, water sustains us.
The vast majority of waterfront property owners will tell you that it was the access to water that that brought them there in the first place and that protecting water quality is their main concern. This was certainly the case for 93% of Kasshabog Lake property owners who were surveyed about what they valued about living on the lake as part of the Love Your Lake Program.
The Love Your Lake Program is an environmental stewardship program designed to reach out to waterfront owners with property specific recommendations on how to protect lake water quality. There are several ways that our own actions on land adjacent to waterways have a direct impact on water. By helping waterfront owners to adopt lake-friendly landscaping options and behaviours, the Love Your Lake Program will protect the ecosystem health of lakes and improve the natural aesthetic of the lake environment while maintaining property values.
The Love Your Lake Program consists of a lake-wide shoreline survey conducted on a property-by-property basis. The purpose of the survey is to acquire an accurate picture of the current state of the lake’s shoreline. This is accomplished by assessing the amount of natural shoreline on the waterfront. The survey, which is conducted by the water by boat, is guided by a data sheet that is applied to each property on the lake. Program staff inventory shoreline structures and natural habitat features.
Information from the survey is then used to prepare an individualized stewardship information report that outlines specific actions that the landowner could take. The goal of this program is strictly educational and is non-regulatory. No information from the property surveys is shared with anyone and the information is managed with the utmost respect for the property owner.
Love Your Lake promotional video
The Lakeland Alliance is the local organization working with volunteers from the Lake Kasshabog Residents Association (LKRA) to bring the program to Kasshabog. Over the course of this past summer, Alliance staff completed the survey looking at approximately 660 properties on the lake. While on the water, staff spoke to landowners about the program, provided information, and discussed many lake-related issues that were important to them.
Lori Bailey, president of the LKRA, was highly motivated to get the Love Your Lake Program to Kasshabog.
“The LKRA is very concerned about maintaining the quality of life for shoreline property owners on Kasshabog,” Bailey explains. “The association executive sees the Love Your Lake program as an effective way to engage not only our association members, but all property owners on the lake on how to protect our lake and our waterfront investments.”
“We look forward to the spring of 2015 when property owners will receive notification of the availability of their private and customized shoreline stewardship report,” she adds. “It’s our hope that people will act on the recommendations provided and that the level of awareness about our lake environment will grow.”
The Love Your Lake Program is currently being offered by a number of other environmental organizations throughout the province.
“This innovative stewardship program developed by the Centre for Sustainable Watersheds has garnered significant support from the Canadian Wildlife Federation and their support has allowed us to take landowner contact programming to the next level,” says Mike Gibbs, coordinator of the Lakeland Alliance. “We’re using a combination of mapping software, GIS parcel maps, and a satellite GPS unit to help us accurately discern properties. In addition, we’re using a sophisticated data base that the CWF developed to house and processes our data.”
This is the second year of piloting the program in the Kawarthas and it would not be as successful if it were not for the volunteer efforts of the LKRA volunteers.
The time to protect our freshwater resources is when they are healthy. When the impacts of our actions negatively affect our lakes and rivers, it will be too late to attempt to return them to their previous state as this requires much effort and financial input. The Love Your Program hopes to instill a sense of stewardship and vigilance amongst shoreline property owners who have really become frontline defenders of our shared freshwater resources.
For more information about the program, contact Mike Gibbs at 705-745-3238 ext. 207 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is available on the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Love Your Lake website at loveyourlake.ca.