By Mike Thomas
In 2016, the ‘Love your Lake’ program assessed 423 properties totaling about 39km of shoreline on Upper Paudash Lake. The shoreline survey involved an assessment of the entire shoreline of Upper Paudash Lake. The report we received summarized the information on shoreline classifications, development, runoff, invasive species, habitat and recommendations and restoration opportunities. This report can be used as a source of information on the current physical conditions of Upper Paudash Lake and as a baseline to compare future surveys. It can also be used by PLCA and other partners to determine opportunities for restoration, education and stewardship on a lake wide level.
Shoreline lengths for each property were obtained from municipal property information. For properties without this data, lengths were estimated. Results were based upon the number of properties within each shoreline classification. Properties were assigned an overall category corresponding to the classification that made up the largest portion of the shoreline.
On Upper Paudash Lake, 48 of the shoreline properties were classified as majority natural, 146 majority ornamental, and 225 were considered majority regenerative. It is recommended that shoreline property owners engage in naturalization projects to further decrease the ornamental percentage and increase the regenerative and natural percentages.
This presents an opportunity for residents of Upper Paudash Lake to increase the overall quality of the lake by maintaining, protecting and enhancing natural shorelines. To restore shorelines to a more natural state, property owners are encouraged to take action. Owners of regenerative properties are encouraged to maintain their properties in a natural state by allowing vegetation on their property to continue to regenerate and grow naturally.
It is recommended for the health of a lake that 75 per cent of the shoreline of each property remains natural, leaving 25 per cent for shoreline development opportunity. Working towards keeping 75 per cent of the shoreline of each property in a natural state will greatly benefit the health of the lake.
Currently 237 properties would benefit from shoreline naturalization. Of these 237 properties, 55 of them, or 23 per cent, are a top priority.
On average, property owners have developed 32 per cent of their shoreline within a few metres of the water’s edge. Different types of structures can have negative environmental impacts, due to their ability to remove habitat, store contaminants and nutrients, and eventually release them into the aquatic environment.
On Upper Paudash Lake, the number of properties with lawns, either mowed or regenerative, was observed. 16 per cent of properties had lawns that were mowed to the water’s edge. When a lawn is maintained right to the water’s edge, natural ground cover and native vegetation are no longer present to slow runoff and allow nutrient filtration. Nutrients, contaminants, pollutants and other harmful substances can be easily carried into the lake by runoff, and can harm water quality and local ecological integrity. Lawn grasses also have short root systems and do not bind the soil well, which can lead to problems with erosion and increased sediment deposition.
Please review your report seriously and take the actions recommended so we can continue to have a healthy lake and healthy properties in the future—your property values depend on this!