The name "Clear Lake" was given due to the clarity and cleanliness of our
beautiful shared asset. However, we need to keep vigilant to make sure it stays
that way. While being mindful of everything we put directly into the lake, we
also need to make sure we keep the shoreline healthy.
The shoreline environment is one of the most important ecosystems that affect
the water quality of the lake. Special attention
must be given to protecting and restoring shoreline environments. A healthy
natural shoreline maintains water quality and provides vital habitat.
Vegetated shorelines filter the surface water runoff from upland areas. This
runoff can carry harmful sediments, chemicals and nutrients that eventually end
up in the lake. Shoreline vegetation can help stop and slow this potentially
harmful surface runoff.
Shoreline vegetation also protects water quality by preventing erosion of its
banks. This erosion can cause damage to fish spawning areas and may lead to a
decrease in the value of your property.
The shoreline area also aids in overall lake health by providing a unique
ecosystem in which many aquatic and terrestrial species depend during a part,
or all, of their life cycle.
Preservation of shoreline areas is the first step in maintaining water quality.
To protect the current state of a shoreline it is recommended that:
Existing natural shoreline be maintained
Lawn fertilizers not be used
Artificial beaches not be created and all natural vegetation, including fallen
trees, remain untouched.
Shoreline buffers are a critical component of the shoreline environment. It is
important to maintain a natural buffer zone between the lake and its upland
area in order to protect both water quality and quantity.
Protecting an existing natural shoreline buffer involves allowing Mother Nature
to grow and flourish. This includes restricting development in the shoreline
area and pruning trees for views rather than removing them.
Restoring a shoreline buffer zone also requires Mother Nature's assistance. If
you would like to plant new vegetation, ensure it is a species native to the
area and is suitable to the wet conditions found in the shoreline environment.
For more information about native vegetation in Muskoka, contact your local
nursery or landscaping center.
If your property does not have an adequate shoreline buffer zone or has an
altered shoreline, action should be taken to restore the area.
Shoreline restoration involves creating a new shoreline vegetative buffer zone
and creating and maintaining water smart shoreline structures. To start,
determine the width of the buffer zone needed for the topography of your
property. Next, stop mowing this area and in a few months natural vegetation
will begin to grow with no cost or time spent planting new vegetation. Hand
weed undesirable or invasive species as they appear to keep them to a minimum.
Once your shoreline buffer is established, a narrow natural pathway to the
water's edge can be created to replace large flagstone or wooden boardwalks. By
reducing the width of the shoreline access route, it will allow for more
natural vegetation to grow. By eliminating hardened surfaces, the flow of
surface water runoff will be slowed. Both factors help protect water quality
and keep Clear Lake clean!