Communications and Fundraising Manager at Watersheds Canada
Protecting freshwater starts with a healthy, vegetated shoreland. Watersheds Canada’s innovative programs empower individuals and communities to protect their lakes and rivers.
Currently tucked underneath the ice of our nation’s lakes, rivers, and wetlands are lungs. These are special lungs: ones not found inside an animal but that service the freshwater body. These lungs will bloom by summer, offering shelter, food, and rearing areas for 90% of all aquatic life. These lungs are Canada’s aquatic vegetation, and they are disappearing.
Can’t catch a breath
Out of 44,274 shoreline assessments Watersheds Canada completed on 187 developed lakes, only 22 percent of properties met the minimum criteria for sustaining wildlife and freshwater health. The way people once viewed and developed waterfront properties is changing, with an increase in hardened shorelines and large-scale aquatic vegetation removal, and it is expediting the degradation of Canada’s shorelines in unprecedented ways.
Out of 44,274 shoreline assessments Watersheds Canada completed on 187 developed lakes, only 22 percent of properties met the minimum criteria for sustaining wildlife and freshwater health.
The many benefits of aquatic plants
Aquatic vegetation is a critical piece of a healthy freshwater ecosystem, and includes emergent, floating, and submergent species. Just like their terrestrial counterparts, aquatic plants like Yellow Water Lily (Nuphar lutea) have many benefits for people and wildlife. These plants keep busy, absorbing wave energy, protecting water quality, providing habitat, producing oxygen, taking up nutrients (nutrient cycling), stabilizing shorelines and bottom sediments, and protecting against algae competition. Of course, they are also beautiful!
The lake health experts
Watersheds Canada is a registered charity that works with landowners, students, and a vast network of community associations and organizations to keep our freshwater healthy for generations to come, which includes protecting aquatic vegetation! Since 2002, Watersheds Canada’s programs have focused on science-driven education, community-led outreach and action, shoreline assessments and naturalizations, and habitat restorations.
Healthy aquatic vegetation communities are just one piece of the puzzle: visit watersheds.ca to access free stewardship guides, family-friendly activities, and an extensive resource library so you can protect your local freshwater today.