June 15, 2023 — Thanks to the “Sustaining Our Freshwater” project, the Municipalities of South Frontenac and Tweed will see lake health and shoreline environmental benefits for decades to come. This two-year pilot project led by Watersheds Canada, Quinte Conservation, Cataraqui Conservation, Dog & Cranberry Lakes Association, the Municipality of South Frontenac, the Municipality of Tweed, and Friends of Stoco Lake and local residents is restoring and sustainably naturalizing shorelines along Stoco Lake and Dog Lake to improve freshwater quality.
Watersheds Canada was honoured to receive funding for this nature-based restoration project through the Government of Canada’s EcoAction Community Funding Program to protect the long-term health of two lakes within Frontenac and Hastings counties. As a national charity, Watersheds Canada does not receive regular funding to lead freshwater stewardship and restoration programs. For this project, Watersheds Canada was fortunate to have the support and knowledge of local community partners to deliver locally relevant stewardship actions.
“Watersheds Canada is excited to continue this important project in the Municipalities of Tweed and South Frontenac. One critical part of the project is the Love Your Lake program which will provide lakeside residents with the information and action steps they need to protect their freshwater health for years to come”, says Melissa Dakers, Habitat and Stewardship Program Manager at Watersheds Canada.
Freshwater lakes are essential for ecological function and socioeconomic needs. The riparian zone represents the shoreline ecosystem along the first 30 metres of land surrounding a lake or river. Native birds, insects, and other terrestrial and aquatic wildlife depend on the vital habitat provided by this “ribbon of life” for food, water, shelter, and breeding. Shoreline properties can thus make a great impact on a lake or river. Shoreline vegetation acts as a buffer to a host of natural and human-made pollutants to improve water quality, moderate temperatures, mitigate flood frequency and impacts, reduce erosion, and provide natural wildlife habitat. Naturalized shorelines are cost-effective, ecologically responsible, beautiful, and add value to waterfront properties.
The Planning for our Shorelands program developed science-based information and educational resources to facilitate public engagement. Freshwater information toolkits, public consultations, and information events held in 2023 will continue to engage and empower municipal decision-makers, freshwater stakeholders, Conservation Authorities, small businesses, Indigenous communities, and waterfront property owners to take action in protecting local freshwater. The Natural Edge shoreline naturalization program is restoring two public shoreline sites through public plantings and demonstration events to showcase naturalization practices within the communities.
The Love Your Lake program will conduct 600 private shoreline assessments for the “Sustaining Our Freshwater” project. Each waterfront owner will receive a detailed report with site-specific observations and recommendations for naturalizing their property. The 600 waterfront properties that receive a site assessment will be invited to participate in a detailed restoration plan with Watersheds Canada. This plan will then be implemented with the guidance and support of local staff to ensure maximum protection of the adjacent lake or river.
The Love Your Lake program, coordinated and delivered by the Canadian Wildlife Federation and Watersheds Canada, invites waterfront associations and organizations to volunteer their lake or other waterbody as participants in the program. If accepted, every property on the lake will be assessed using a standardized shoreline assessment protocol, and landowners will receive a personalized, private property report. These reports contain details on the state of their shoreline and recommended voluntary actions for improving lake health for people and wildlife.
Participating in Love Your Lake is a great way to gauge the health of your lake and become a steward of your local freshwater! Learn more about the Love Your Lake shoreline assessment program by visiting LoveYourLake.ca or by emailing email@example.com. For helpful tips to keep your shoreline property happy and healthy for future generations, visit loveyourlake.ca/self-assessment for a quick online shoreline self-assessment tool.
About Watersheds Canada
Watersheds Canada is a national non-profit charitable organization that works with landowners, communities, students, and organizations to enhance and protect lakes and rivers through developing effective and transferable long-term solutions. Watersheds Canada envisions people caring for their waters, resulting in clean, healthy lakes and rivers to support humans and wildlife for years to come. Learn more at Watersheds.ca
About Quinte Conservation
Quinte Conservation is a local watershed based not-for-profit environmental protection agency. They deliver science-based programs and services to residents and municipalities within their watershed. Learn more at QuinteConservation.ca
Habitat and Stewardship Program Manager