Lakes and watercourses
Ours to save
Why our lakes and rivers are dying (eutrophication)
Lakes, rivers and streams have been central to our lives since the beginning of time. Initially, people settled near them because they offered transportation and convenient access to water. Over time, the search for peace, quiet, space and nature also attracted us to the water. However, these same shorelines have been deforested, backfilled, turned into lawns and even filled with rocks. Beaches have appeared where none existed and wastewater has been poured into water everywhere. In some cases, these actions have contributed to the gradual deterioration of water bodies, shortening their life spans. This process is called eutrophication
The main results of eutrophication are an excessive increase in algae and a decrease in water quality, which can lead to health problems and loss of property value. Eventually, people choose to leave the very bodies of water that initially attracted them.
Special attention to shorelines
Maintaining and improving the water quality of a body of water means paying special attention to its shores and littoral zone. In order to do so, the erosion and degradation of shorelines must be prevented, and the quality and biodiversity of the area must be preserved. The government therefore prepared the Protection Policy for Lakeshores, Riverbanks, Littoral Zones and Floodplains. The Policy applies to all natural and artificial lakes and watercourses, both large and small, regardless of whether their water flow is constant or intermittent. Drainage ditches that serve 2 or more lots are also subject to the Policy, which is applied via municipal regulations. However, since rules alone are not enough, every action that protects, restores, cleans or sanitizes a body of water is important and contributes to the common effort to recover water.
What you need to know if you must take action...
In general, the Policy prohibits structures, undertakings and works that touch shorelines, littoral zones and floodplains.
The following (among others) are prohibited:
However, it is permitted to:
To improve the quality of watercourses, other actions can be taken:
The importance of a healthy shoreline
The shoreline and littoral zone are essential to the survival of a lake or watercourse and in order to maintain a balanced ecosystem.
Check before you act!
If you would like to carry out work along the shoreline or in the littoral zone of a lake or watercourse, you must first check with the municipality to find out about the applicable rules and regulations, including the Wild-life Conservation Act, managed by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune. Make sure you have the necessary authorizations.
For information, contact the
Centre d’information of the Ministère.
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