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Helpful Tips

This is an info sheet to describe what it means to be a responsible cottager on the lake - a cottager who values the quality of the lake and the community that it supports. Here is a first effort to compile such a list. If you have other tips to add please send them to communications@lacbernard.ca.

Garbage pickup

wheeliebin

Here is information about garbage and recycling pickup.

Milfoil

milfoil

What is it? invasive species of weed
Why care? reduce property values/prohibits boating/swimming/serious impact on aquatic life
What can you do

  • Pick up all cuttings and dispose far from shore

Phosphates

phosphates

What is it? Harmful chemicals found in some cleaning product
Why care? They diminish the quality of the lake and make it un-swimmable
What can you do

  • Look for the biodegradable symbol
  • Look for products that say ‘phosphate free’
  • Look for products that say ‘all natural’, ‘Eco,’ ‘Green’ and ‘chemical free’
  • Look for natural, biodegradable soap
  • For more info: Eco-friendly products.

Septic Systems

septic pumper

Why care? Poorly designed or outdated systems can contribute to seeping chemicals/human waste/e-coli into the lake
What can you do

  • Pump out your septic tank regularly (every two years if full-time, every four years if summer only)
  • The septic system works on living bacteria. Therefore, use biodegradable products that will not kill bacteria, including antibacterial products.
  • Chlorine and bromine kill bacteria. Do not use chlorine bleach or products containing bromine that will be discharged into your septic system.
  • Do not overuse the system. For example, adding toilets, garburators and hot tubs can overload the system resulting in system failure and waste going into the lake.
  • Never throw your grey water into the woods at your cottage or residence. Drain waste from sinks and wash areas into an approved wastewater treatment system, and never just into the ground, or worse, into the lake or near the shoreline.
  • Do not let your water softener unit discharge into the septic system when they are back flushing. If hard water systems with a high iron content feed directly into the septic system, the bacteria in the system will be killed.
  • For more info: Septic systems.

Fires

fire

Why care? Fires that haven’t been properly extinguished can start up again even if it rains later on. The fire is still burning inside the logs and you cannot see it.
What can you do

  • If you have a fire, make sure it is on a wetter night, make sure it is not too close of trees or overhanging branches and make sure it is soaked before leaving.

Shoreline

shoreline

Why care? The land keeps getting pushed back more and more and so your property value will reduce and it is a danger to the nesting areas of wildlife
What can you do

  • Interfere as little as possible with natural shoreline growth
  • Do not remove or cut back trees and shrubs on the first 5 meters from the lake shore
  • Encourage shoreline regeneration
  • Provide a view of the lake from your cottage, not by cutting down or topping trees, but instead by permitting the trees to grow and only cutting branches that restrict your view
  • For more info: Shoreline

Loons

loons

Why care? They are a symbol of our lake and beautiful creature that deserve to be respected
What can you do

  • If you see a loon from late June to September, chances are that one or two chicks will be close by. Keep your distance.
  • Loons only have one or two chicks and may abandon them if they feel threatened
  • Listen to loons - if you approach a loon and hear it start to call, this means you are too close. Move away
  • Watch what loons do - if you see a loon “dancing” straight up out of the water and slapping with its wings, it is alarmed by your presence. Move away.
  • For more info: Loons

Boating

boating

Why care? Unsafe boating can lead to injury/fatality and criminal charges
What can you do

  • Know how your wake may be impacting swimmers, kayakers, canoeists, and especially the shoreline and loon nests and respond accordingly
  • Water ski and wake board in the open areas of the lake
  • Know your location with respect to other boats, swimmers and loons
  • Watch your speed
  • Stock your boats with the required equipment (life jackets, ropes, flashlight, whistle, etc.)
  • Ensure that your navigation lights work and that they are turned on at dusk
  • Respect fishing regulations
  • Understand the impact of the noise of your boat and act accordingly
  • For more info: Boating and Water Sports

Shutting down the cottage

sunset
  • Secure windows and doors
  • Close curtains or blinds; put up shutters if necessary to protect the interior from intruders (animal or human)
  • Ensure roads are plowed in winter for insurance purposes
  • Leave no valuables at the cottage – electronics, personal items, tools – unless you are prepared to lose them! Take a video for insurance purposes
  • Confirm your local “key holder” person to respond to any alarms, weather damage, thefts or animal problems.
  • For snow machines remove track and keys; ensure boats are covered and locked with outboard motors locked and slightly disassembled; disable ATVs.
  • Leave nothing on a trailer unless it is locked or disabled.
  • Record the serial numbers of anything of value you decide to leave behind.
  • Report all thefts to the police. They need the info to build up a crime profile of the lake.
  • For more info: Protecting Your Valuables
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