This was the message delivered at the organization’s eighth annual meeting held on May 14 at the Stanhope Community Centre.
The CHA which was started in 2009 with 23 lake associations is now 48 associations strong and growing said president Paul MacInnes.
With more than 15000 properties represented the organization is very focused on “protecting our lakes” he said.
The importance of natural shorelines was emphasized by guest speaker Julia Sutton of Sutton Environmental Services. An expert in ecosystem restoration and an organic farmer Sutton has worked with conservation authorities on planting projects and site plans.
Current landscaping issues that property owners face include invasive species lack of knowledge about native plants neonicotinoid pesticides and bee deaths.
Sutton emphasized the danger of green grass on shorelines referring to it as “green cement” and reiterating how it is not environmentally friendly.
Natural shorelines provide a wealth of benefits including biodiversity runoff and water quality said Sutton.
“Eighty to ninety per cent of all life depend on the shoreline” she said. “Scientific studies have proven that in order to maintain water quality 75 per cent of the shoreline must be kept in a natural state for a minimum of 100 feet. If there is significantly less than 75 per cent water quality will seriously degrade over time.”
Other benefits of a natural shoreline is that it helps keep water temperatures cooler in the summer and it is cost effective erosion control.
When planting a natural shoreline things to consider are what are the existing site considerations is there erosion and what type of naturalization fits?
Sutton recommends looking at the type of soil slope moisture levels and regional plants. Landowners should also be considering the location of their septic system existing issues such as geese structures such as docks or boathouses maintenance and water source.
A long-term site plan should be decided on with thought given to expectations and maintenance said Sutton.
Following Sutton’s presentation MacInnes gave an update on CHA and its efforts. The organization is moving into its third year on the water of the Love Your Lake Program.
To date 20 lakes have been surveyed and the goal is to do 28 to 29 more said MacInnes.
Report letters have been sent out for the lakes completed in 2014 and 2015 with final reports expected to be sent in 2018.
“Next year is the very last year for this program” said MacInnes adding at that point the funding runs out and that CHA volunteers need a break.
The goal of the Love Your Lake program which assesses shorelines of waterfront properties is to report on approximately 60 lakes.
Other projects CHA is working on includes releasing an e-edition of their Lake Stewards manual this summer.
MacInnes also gave the members an update on their shoreline restoration project at Sam Slick Park in Haliburton set to begin this year.