Lake Bernard    
Lake Bernard Lake Bernard Lake Bernard


Protecting our water

Video: A perfect summer day at Lac Bernard

What to look out for to help protect our Lake!

Please click on the links below for more information on the environment.

  1. Blue Green Algae
  2. Zebra  Mussels
  3. Eurasian watermilfoil
  4. Septic Systems
  5. Outhouses
  6. Lawn Fertilizers

1.  Blue Green Algae

Blue Green Algae form in shallow, warm, slow-moving or still water. They are made up of cells, which can house poisons called cyanobacterial toxins. A mass of cyanobacteria in a body of water is called a bloom. When this mass rises to the surface of the water, it is known as surface scum or a surface water bloom.

Blue Green Algae
To prevent Blue Green Algae, keep our lake clean!!! Read how below

Guide for Outaouais residents

Protecting our lakes and watercourses: Essential to fighting the proliferation of blue-green algae! The defunct Conférence régionale des élus de l'Outaouais (CRÉO) had prepared a reference guide, written for Outaouais residents, which was the result of the concerted efforts of a number of partners in the region. It originated through consultations established on the basis of the regional action plan to fight the proliferation of blue-green algae in the lakes and rivers of the Outaouais. Click here to download the guide:

2.  The infestation Zebra Mussels

Help prevent the spread of Zebra Mussels to Lac Bernard

They out-compete native species for food and by growing on top of and suffocating the native clams and mussels. By taking a few precautionary steps after boating and fishing, people living along or visiting the shoreline can prevent the spread of mussels.

Zebra Mussels

  • Inspect boat and trailer carefully for mussels and aquatic vegetation and discard
  • Drain all water from the boat, including the bilge, live well and engine cooling system
  • Dry the boat and trailer in the sun for at least five days, or if you use your boat sooner, rinse off the boat, trailer, anchor, anchor line, bumpers, and engine with hot water or at a car wash.
  • Leave live aquatic bait behind – give it to someone using the same waterbody
  • Cottagers, homeowners and businesses who draw water directly from a zebra mussel infested waterbody will need to protect their system from infestation.

Public assistance in preventing the spread of this highly invasive species and reporting new infestations is essential to help reduce their negative impacts on the local environment and economy.

                                     Zebra Mussels

3.  Tangled mess of Eurasian watermilfoil

Originating in Europe, Eurasian watermilfoil is an invasive aquatic plant that grows at depths of 1 to 4 metres and forms a dense carpet on the lake’s surface.

Eurasian watermilfoil

According to Environment Canada, “this plant not only pushes out indigenous plant species, but may also be harmful to fish populations by crowding out their spawning grounds… Eurasian watermilfoil is also an impediment to recreational use of aquatic environments.”

Why is it a hazard?

  • Fishing, sailing and the use of motorboats become difficult.
  • Water skiing and swimming should be avoided in infested areas as there is a risk of entanglement and drowning.
  • Propellers may become entangled, overheat and burnout.

What’s the best control intervention? Eurasian watermilfoil

Harvesting the plant once the spikes are above the water’s surface (late spring and early autumn) is the most promising and least environmentally damaging method of controlling the weeds IF ALL OF THE CUTTINGS ARE COMPLETELY TAKEN OUT OF THE WATER.

This technique will gradually weaken the plant and create conditions suitable for the return of indigenous plants.


4.  Wastewater Treatment Systems

The municipality of Low began an inspection program in 2011 for the residences located at Lac Bernard in that municipality.

What septic system owners need to know

  • If a septic system does not work properly it can pollute the lake Septic systems
  • 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 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 grey water (from your sinks) 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 use water softeners containing calcium and magnesium. These cause poor scum separation and are hard on bacteria.
    Iron removal units when they are back flushing should not discharge into the septic system. If hard water systems with a high iron content feed directly into the septic system, the bacteria in the system will be killed

5.  Outhouses

Outhouses are handy but they can pollute the lake. No matter what the classification of an outhouse, please follow these simple rules:

  • An outhouse pit must be a minimum of 15 metres away from a drilled well that has a watertight casing at least 6 metres deep.
  • If you don’t have a drilled well, the pit must be at least 30 metres from a spring used for drinking water or a dug well (a well without a watertight casing).
  • Pits must be located at least 15 metres from any lake, river, pond, stream or reservoir, or any spring not used for drinking water, and 3 metres from a property line.
  • The bottom of the pit must be at least 90 cm above the high groundwater table in your area
  • The sides of the pit must be reinforced to prevent collapse

6. Lawns and Garden Fertilizers and Other Chemicals

Protecting our lake

Some cottagers like to add fertilizers and other chemicals such as weedkillers or pesticides to their property.

Weedkillers like “Roundup” and pesticides will kill wildlife, fish, insects and birds as well as harming people.

Please do not use fertilizers on lawns or gardens at the cottage, or use a certified phosphate-free product. Fertilizers contain nitrogen and phosphorus that will leach into the lake, causing weed and algae growth.

Individual actions with a collective impact

If those cottages who have grass down to the lake, or ground not protected by plants, thousands of pounds of sediment and nutrients would be kept out of the lake. If the remaining cottages (there are very few) corrected their septic issues, we could completely starve the lake of human nutrient loads and bacteria. If we clean our boats prior to putting them in the water, and NEVER dump species that don’t belong in the lake (goldfish, crawfish, clams, mussels, carp, aquarium plants and fish, etc.), we could stem the flow of invasive species.

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