Cottage boathouses. (James Wood, MyMuskokaNow.com staff)
HALIBURTON, ON – The Land Between is trying to reduce the impact of boating on local ecosystems.
According to the conservation agency, although boating is a big Canadian pastime, and it offers a boost to the economy, there are negative effects attached to the activity as well.
Officials say Wisconsin University conducted studies on water quality, and the studies found that waters with higher boat traffic were susceptible to higher algae and more sediment affecting the water’s clarity.
The Land Between, which stretches from Parry Sound to Frontenac County, is especially at risk because of its high numbers of freshwater lakes and shorelines.
The reason being that as sediment gets stirred up by the propellers of boats, it adds more minerals and compounds changing the chemistry of the water. That can reduce the sustainability of the water for both humans and wildlife.
Another concern of the changing makeup of bodies of water is the fact that certain aquatic beings have specific needs to survive in the water like light, temperature, water clarity, pH level and more.
For fish, there is another concern that boat propellers are designed to generate a lot of power for not a lot of space which creates turbulence for fish in the area.
Wildlife is not the only beings affected by heavily boated waters. The Land Between says studies have shown that swimming in heavily trafficked waterways has been known to impair health due to toxins found in the water.
With all of that said, the organization has prepared a list of tips and tricks to reduce the impact of recreational boating.
- Practice regular boat maintenance to ensure that your vessel is safe for the water and contributing as little pollution as possible
- Avoid large wakes near shore to prevent sediment disturbance and shoreline erosion
- Have a supply of rags on board to clean up any oil or fuel spills as they occur
- Use all natural and non-toxic cleaning solutions for the exterior of your boat, www.sailorsforthesea.org specializes in non-toxic cleaning products
- Be cautious with portable fuel tanks, be sure to fill up on shore and secure closed when not in use
- Remain cautious and slow down when approaching significant natural habitats such as wetlands and known spawning beds
- Ensure that your boat is free of zebra mussels or any other invasive species before travelling different water bodies
- Opt for paddled watercraft, such as canoes, kayaks or paddleboards to enjoy your time out on the water
- When spotting wildlife on the water or shoreline, be sure to give them lots of space and admire from afar
“Employing any or all of these tips has the ability to keep aquatic ecosystems safe and undisturbed, contributing to the overall health of lakes and waterways within The Land Between.”