Save The Lake!

Blue-Green Algae

Whether we are property owners, renters, or annual visitors, we have a vested interest in protecting the lakes and rivers that give us so much enjoyment.

Anglers, boaters and cottagers all benefit from a pollution-free lake, but the lake needs our help to ensure that it stays healthy.

Our cabin is located along the Winnipeg River which is part of the Lake Of The Woods watershed basin. The effects of pollution in this system are far-reaching, as the water flows from Lake Of The Woods into the Winnipeg River, Lake Winnipeg, Nelson River and all the way to Hudson Bay.

Progress has been made with industrial pollution, but the system is constantly battling high phosphorus levels, rising boat traffic and increased development all along its path.

While many people may think their independent actions have a minimal impact, the truth is quite the opposite. By being conscious of our individual behaviour we can work together to ensure that the health of the water system improves.

How can we as individuals help?

Phosphate-free Product
Always use phosphate-free cleaning products at the cottage. High levels of phosphorus feed Blue-Green algae blooms. Aside from being unsightly and sometimes toxic, these conditions lead to a depleted level of oxygen in the water which upsets the fragile balance required for fish, plants and other aquatic life to thrive in harmony.

Natural Shorelines
Allowing the shoreline to grow wild has numerous benefits for the entire ecosystem. One key advantage is that it filters pollutants that would otherwise enter the water system.

Fertilizers
Nutrient rich fertilizer may be great for the grass or the garden but it is a disaster for the lake. The cottage lawn doesn’t have to look like a golf course.

Septic Systems
Spend the time and money to have septic systems inspected and emptied on a regular basis. A system overflow is a bad situation for you and the environment.

By working together we can ensure a healthy water system that will be enjoyed by everyone for generations to come.

Editor’s Note:
For property owners in the Lake Of The Woods Basin Area there are a series of critical meetings taking place with the IJC (International Joint Commission) about how governments in Canada and the U.S. can work together to manage the Lake Of The Woods and Rainy River watershed area.

Recommended Reading:
Here are two great websites with more information on this topic:
Lake Of The Woods District Property Owners Association
Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation

Written by: Andrew Walker

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