Preserving Water Quality
Athabasca County offers a range of beautiful lakes to enjoy. Keeping the ecosystems that support them healthy is a role we can all play. Treating them with care each time we visit means they will be there for future generations to enjoy.
The water quality of all lakes is challenged when we use them for a variety of recreational purposes. Each time we venture out for some water skiing, wake boarding, or fishing with a motorized watercraft there is potential for harm.
Use caution when adding fuel to your watercraft to prevent spilling any into the water. When possible, remove the fuel tank, or boat from the water, and refill it on dry land away from the body of water.
Hydrocarbons (fuel and oil) are harmful to plants and marine life so if your vessel isn’t operating efficiently and is leaking them into our lakes, remove it from the water and have it repaired.
Part of boat maintenance is preventing the spread of invasive species by draining, cleaning, and drying your boat after each use.
Be Wake Smart!
Did you know when you disturb the bottom of a lake with wake from your boat it can lead to the growth of blue-green algae?
Many lakes in our County have large shallow areas that are less than 10 feet in depth. When in shallow water the wake from your boat’s propeller can disturb the sediment at the bottom of the lake.
This sediment contains nutrients (phosphorous) that helps promote the growth of blue-green algae bacteria plumes. The presence of this algae reduces the potential for enjoyment and overall health of our lakes. Stirring up the bottom also affects fish spawning areas, and their food chain.
Transport Canada regulations include provisions for operators to reduce their speed to under 10 km/h within 30 metres of the shoreline. Accelerating gradually when launching your boat to prevent a large wake from forming, is another way to Be Wake Smart.
When recreational boating (tubing, wake boarding, skiing) consider taking these activities into deeper waters (20 feet deep or more) where the chances of stirring up the bottom is less likely.
Part of the enjoyment of our lakes is the wildlife that is present around them. All types of waterfowl can be found on them as they migrate and others make the shorelines their home.
One such bird is the iconic Loon that adds much ambiance to everyone’s lake experience. They make their nests in the reeds and when large waves, or wake, hit their nests the health of the nests and eggs can be affected.
Many lakes have ‘No Wake’ areas that help protect these vulnerable habitats. Play it safe and help protect our bird populations by reducing your speed when near the shoreline.
Transport Canada regulations state when boating in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, please observe the unposted speed limit of 10 km/h (6 mph) within 30 meters (100 ft) from shore. This limit applies on all waters within these provinces except where other limits are posted.
Other Things to Consider
Large wakes near shorelines can be destructive and dangerous. They increase shoreline erosion, disturb wildlife and fish, and cause destruction to aquatic plants.
They have also been know to damage piers, rafts, and moored watercraft. They can also be hazardous to inexperienced swimmers using flotation devices.
Be courteous to others and consider what effect your wake is having.