At The Lake

The shoreline is an essential part of a lake’s ecosystem. The shore and the waters right at the edge of the lake are home to many plants, animals and insects. It is important that these areas are not disturbed or affected as much as possible by land owners along lakes.

Maintaining a Natural Shoreline

Natural vegetation should be allowed to grow on the shore and in the water, and removal of any existing natural vegetation should be avoided. These plants are a natural way to defend against erosion, and they are home to all kinds of animals and insects. The roots of these plants, especially the deep roots of trees, help to hold together and stabilize the shore.

Natural shorelines help to keep outside contaminants such as phosphorous, septic seepage, fertilizers and pesticides outside of the lake. The natural vegetation along the shoreline creates a “buffer” to help keep out these contaminants. Excess phosphorous in the lake will lead to increased algae and poorer water quality and habitats for aquatic animals.

Extra tips on preserving a natural shore:

  • Do not build breakwalls because they reduce the amount of vegetation that is able to grow on the shoreline
  • Do not remove dead trees from the water as they can be home to several different animals, and they help to defend against erosion
  • Use softer or more permeable materials such as gravel or wood chips for walkways and other surfaces instead of concrete or asphalt
  • After building or working on areas, be sure to replant any disturbed areas as quickly as possible
  • Do not build solid docks as they destroy aquatic habitats, alter the lakes currents, and can deflect erosion downstream. Pipe, cantilever, or floating docks disturb the area much less than solid docks

Fertilizers, Chemicals and Other Unwanted Materials

Most fertilizers and chemicals can be degrading to water quality, deadly to the lake’s wildlife, and hazardous to your own health. Overuse of pesticides too close to the shore may harm fish or the plants and insects that they feed on. The use of fertilizers close to the shore will lead to algae bloom which will make the lake greener and murkier.

Environmentally friendly materials should be used whenever possible. This includes soaps, shampoos, cleaning supplies and any other materials used at the cabin.

Invasive Species

Many invasive species can be found on the shores of lakes and rivers in Saskatchewan and some have started to pose a threat to begin establishing themselves here. Some important invasive species include:

Zebra Mussels

Zebra mussels are small clams that can easily spread around to different water bodies by attaching to boats and trailers. These clams can quickly coat lake and river beds and out-compete the natural plants and animals of the area. Zebra mussels are fingernail sized and have brown and white striped shells. These can be harmful to a boats engine and their sharp edges can be hazardous to swimmers.

Click here for information from Environment Canada about what you can do:

Purple Loosestrife

This weed can be found in wetlands and on the shores of lakes and rivers. It is dangerous to these environments because its extensive root system can choke out desired wetland vegetation and create dense areas with no other wildlife. Purple loosestrife can grow to be 46 to 198 cm tall that has purple or magenta coloured flowers surrounding a small yellow centre at the top of the plant.

Click here for a fact Sheet from the Ontario Invasive Species Centre:

Eurasian Water Milfoil

Eurasian water milfoil is a weed that can grow in still or slow-moving water. It can easily grow in areas where native aquatic vegetation is not well established and can choke out the existing plants in the area and slow down water flow. This weed can also affect water based recreational activities by tangling up in the motors of boats.

Click here for a fact sheet from your go-to site for information on invasive species - Alberta Invasive Species:

Leafy Spurge

Leafy spurge is a weed that can grow in many places around Saskatchewan including areas around rivers and other water bodies. It can choke out other vegetation and can be toxic to most livestock including cattle and horses. The milky juice that is inside of the weed may also cause severe skin rashes on humans. Leafy spurge can grow to be 15 to 91 cm tall and has long hairless stems that have small, clustered, yellow flowers closer to the top of it.

Ways that you can help stop the spread of these invasive species include:

  • Remove all weeds, clams and any other vegetation from your boat and motor after taking it out of the water
  • Clean your boat using non-toxic cleaners after use
  • Drain any water from your boat including livewells and the engine cooling system
  • Be careful with using bait from different areas as some bait can carry invasive species

Click here for a fact sheet from Swift Current Creek Watershed:

Septic Systems

A poorly maintained or overloaded septic system can lead to unwanted material going into the lake and affecting its ecosystem. Refer to our Septic Systems page for more information.