Not sure how to maintain your shoreline? Read on for tips on what you can do.
Retain Your Shoreline Buffer
A buffer of native vegetation along the shoreline acts as a living filter slowing down run-off, filtering sediments and pollutants before entering into water. A buffer provides habitat for wildlife and acts as erosion prevention with deeply penetrating root systems holding soil in place.
Rebuild Your Shoreline Buffer with Native Vegetation
Start by leaving a section of un-mowed lawn along the shoreline and allowing it to grow in. Plant with native plant species, that are suited for the local conditions, to speed up the re-vegetation process.
- E-flora BC
- Native Plant Society of British Columbia
- BC’s Wild Heritage Plants
- Invasive Species Council of BC
Reduce Run-off from Entering Water
Run-off, which occurs during rain events or spring melt, often carry contaminants such as, motor oil, pet feces, road salt, sediment and chemicals, straight into water. By retaining a buffer of vegetation, run-off can be slowed and the amount of pollutants can be limited. The bigger the buffer, the greater the benefits!
- Retain a buffer of perennial native vegetation between lawn and water – this will slow down runoff and allow it to be absorbed by plant roots
- Minimize hard surfaces – runoff cannot be absorbed by concrete
- Use alternative groundcovers to turf grass as their root system does not penetrate as deeply as perennial native vegetation, which helps to breakdown pollutants in run-off
- Cover dirt and manure piles with a tarp to reduce water pollution from sediments, fertilizers and chemicals which can enter into water when rain events occur
- Use a rain barrel to collect water coming off the roof of buildings
- Allow your lawn to grow a little longer, 6 – 8 inches. This will increase root development and the grasses’ ability to take up more water.
Before building a dock, consider sharing one with a neighbour.
- Use non-toxic materials to build a dock
- Avoid using tires as boat bumpers on a dock unless they have been thoroughly cleaned away from the shoreline
- Time the building of your dock so it does not interfere with spawning fish or when young fry is active
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada has produced a guide, The Dock Primer, containing helpful information on how to protect your shoreline and build a dock that meets your needs. The Dock Primer can be accessed online at http://kawarthaconservation.com/pdf/TheDockPrimer.pdf
Slow down when boating along shorelines:
Disturbances of shoreline habitat used by wildlife for nesting, feeding, breeding and protection can occur due to increased large wave action, propeller contact and human activity.
- Reduce shoreline erosion from waves created by passing boats by slowing down
- Boats may affect nesting waterfowl by driving adult birds from their nests, exposing eggs or young to predators.
Have your septic system inspected annually and pumped every on a regular basis
- Maintain a well-functioning septic system that is located as far away from water as possible. This will mean less pollutants in the water used for drinking and recreation.
- Conserve household water by installing low-flow toilets and shower heads, turning off the tap when brushing teeth or shaving, washing full loads of laundry or dishes in the dishwasher and half-filling a sink to be used for rinse water when hand-washing dishes – this will prevent overloading your system with too much water.
- Do not flush prescriptions, cigarette butts or sanitary products down the toilet
Help Prevent Algae Blooms
Algae blooms are becoming more common in our area, Bouchie Lake for example. High levels of phosphorous and nitrogen can stimulate excessive algae growth and contribute to blooms. When an algae bloom begins to die, it depletes the amount of oxygen in water, potentially leading to fish kills.
- Maintain a well-functioning septic system that is located as far away from water as possible, allowing pollutants to be thoroughly broken down by soil micro-organisms before they reach the water.
- Use phosphate-free cleaning and personal products. Visit lesstoxicguide.ca for a list of less harmful household products.
- Allow grass to grow to 6 – 8 inches tall. This will lessen the need for fertilizers and watering – reducing contaminated run-off from entering into water.
- Buffer, buffer, buffer! The bigger the buffer, the bigger the benefits! Retain native vegetation along the shoreline.
Here in the Cariboo Chilcotin we have pebbly, rocky shorelines, we do not have naturally sandy beaches.
When sand is imported to create a sandy beach it is unnatural to the landscape and can have a butterfly effect on the ecosystem. Sand can cover-in spawning grounds for fish, smother aquatic plants that provide food for fish as well as potentially clogging up the gills of fish. Please do not import sand to a shoreline.