Loving our Lake to Death
Loving our Lake to Death

Loving our Lake to Death

As the summer rolls on and we secure a spot on the beach, paddle through the wetlands, or enjoy the scenery cruising around on a boat – there is one thing in common, we all find ways to love Lake Windermere. Should it not also be so that we all find ways to sustain Lake Windermere for the future and wildlife? There are many things to be considered when you are making your way to the lake that will have an impact on the health of the lake.

Boat Based Recreation

The options seem almost limitless when looking for a nautical experience, there’s motorized or non-motorized, fishing or surfing, canoeing or sailing, and the list goes on. Regardless of which you pick, there are some key things to keep in mind:

  1. Invasive Species
    By now, you have likely seen the boat inspection stations on the highway or heard of Zebra and Quagga mussels. Hopefully you also know that there are many other invasive species out there too that threaten our lakes, and these inspection stations are not just for large watercraft, but also that inflatable paddle board you’ve got tucked into your trunk. We will all suffer if invasive species are introduced to our lakes, so we all need to do our part in preventing the spread, and remember to clean, drain, and dry.
  1. Limitations of the Waterbody
    There are so many types of watercrafts available today, it may feel overwhelming to decide on which one you want to invest in. Something that may assist in your decision making is to understand the limitations of the waterbody. The biggest limiting factor facing Lake Windermere is its depth, on average Lake Windermere sits at three to four meters deep. Wake boat manufacturers and water quality scientists agree that the ideal depth for a wake boat is greater than six meters. This is because the effort required to create the wake needs that much room in the water column so it will not be disrupted by the lakebed. While a wake is still created in shallower depths, it is less effective, and has the potential to cause serious harm to the health of the lake.
  1. Where to go when
    There is lots to explore on Lake Windermere and lots of sensitive habitat that should be left alone. Did you know that the Columbia Wetlands that sandwich both ends of Lake Windermere are considered Wildlife Management Areas? This means that there are sensitive species that use these areas for feeding and breading habitat. These are primarily bird species and are easily spooked by human visitors. Legally you are not allowed to enter them with anything more than a 10-horsepower motor, it is also recommended to avoid these areas during critical wildlife periods. The prime location for motorized boating and towing on Lake Windermere falls within the deepest, widest section of the lake just north of Taynton Bay and Fort Point. Overall, it is best to leave the shoreline areas for slower non-motorized watercraft, and the deeper larger spaces for the bigger motorized boats.

Shore Based Recreation

If we all work together to recreate responsibly on Lake Windermere we may be able to continue enjoying it for many years to come!

  1. What you bring and leave behind
    On a hot summer day, what could be better than heading down to the beach for dip! It’s important to remember when we enjoy these moments that we consider what we are putting into the lake and what we are taking from it. There are some obvious things not to leave behind, like litter and abandoned floaties, but have you ever considered what you might leave behind in your sunscreen? Many chemical-based sunscreens have the potential to cause harm to the fish and other critters in the lake, it is best to opt for a mineral-based alternative to protect yourself.
  1. Landscaping waterfront property
    Taking a look along the east side of Lake Windermere you will see a variety of homes and cottages along the shoreline. Responsible landowners will consider the impact before they develop their shoreline to do so in a way that supports access and maintains a healthy ecosystem. In our Shorelines and Runoff Deep Dive we reviewed some options, and there are some more from Green Shores for Homes.
  2. Docks and Decks
    Along with maintaining a resilient shoreline, the structures we put into the water will impact the lake as well. Outdated unencapsulated Styrofoam docks are still found in Lake Windermere today! The effect of Styrofoam on human and aquatic health has been heavily studied and shows that the effects are serious, including being carcinogenic. It is recommended to use an encapsulating dock or Styrofoam alternative to float your dock.

If we all work together to recreate responsibly on Lake Windermere we may be able to continue enjoying it for many years to come!

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