BL Charter / Performance Areas

The Blue Lakes Charter/Performance Areas:

The Blue Lakes program charter provides a set of goals for Participants to work towards. The charter includes 8 measurements of performance used to determine the annual accomplishment scoreboard. This will allow Participants to improve upon their success each year. The areas of performance can encompass projects and initiatives that lakes are already undertaking, and can also be expanded upon. Participants have to make gains in 5 out of 6 areas annually, and also provide input to the Blue Lakes database.

1.     Shoreland Health

Maintaining and/or improving natural shorelands by increasing the percentage of natural shores from current baseline

Recommended guidelines:

Best outcomes are 75% of shore and basin
entirely in natural state*

  1. Reduce the clearing of shoreland and riparian plants
  2. Choose healthy setbacks for re-development (accommodate your municipal Official Plan) 
  3. Increase natural shores (both width and depth)
  4. Reduce hardened shorelands: riparian zones and surfaces and include more permeable surfaces that allow for proper water filtration  
  5. Conduct shoreland audits to track the health and state of your shoreland
  6. Retain the use of trees along shorelands especially at the riparian edge (i.e., trim up rather than cut them down)
  7. Respect spawning areas and therefore timing windows as prescribed by authorities (Department of Fisheries and Oceans, MNR, MECP, CAs) and legislation

*It is recommended that 75% of the shorelands remain in a natural state to support the health of the lake (Environment Canada, How Much Habitat is Enough?, 2013)

2.     Citizen
Science Monitoring

Watching and reporting of natural species and

Recommended guidelines: 

  1. Conduct water chemistry testing (Lake Partner Program participation)
  2. Keep an angler diary (or fishing log) 
  3. Practice bird watching and identification including nest box, breeding bird and loon surveys
  4. Conduct local turtle tallies, frog watch, etc.
  5. Participate or conduct bioblitzes (community event to survey different species) 
  6. Contribute to Species At Risk (SAR) monitoring
  7. Practice aquatic insect monitoring (Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network – “Bugs in the Mud”)
  8. Practice and record Daphnia/zooplankton monitoring 
3.     Nutrient
and Input Management

Improving biodiversity and water chemistry by limiting what goes into your lake 

Recommended guidelines: 

  1. Do not apply mosquito sprays as these remove the base of all biodiversity
  2. Use proven safe (for the environment and human health) fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides
  3. Manage water flows and support infiltration with increases in permeable surfaces, downspouts, rain barrels and water gardens 
  4. Keep a healthy and maintained septic tank 
  5. Limit road salt applications (municipal directed)
  6. Deter geese through native shoreland plants and limited lawn spaces
  7. Manage agricultural runoff
4.     Communications and Social Outreach and Inclusivity

Informing and educating community members about the importance of lake quality – increasing uptake and participation

Creating a welcoming and equal space for all to contribute knowledge and thoughts.

Recommended guidelines: 

  1. Participate in the Blue Lakes Passport to Excellence
  2. Communicate the Blue Lakes program with fellow community members
  3. Increase uptake for the Blue Lakes program
  4. Provide Best Management Practices (BMPs) and State of the Resource reports to lake community
  5. Provide educational content, venues and opportunities related to Lake Health
  6. Utilize the Blue Lakes database and online resources
  7. Participate in research and networking with other experts
  8. Use a non-hierarchical governance structure, such as a democratic model
  9. Adopt a rotating Chairperson model for meetings, without a President or Vice President 
  10. Use Talking Circles as a meeting structure to ensure all voices are heard
  11. Incorporate inclusive decision making 
  12. Record meeting minutes to be distributed to those who are absent
  13. Establish a relationship with the local municipality 
  14. Create and accept feedback forms for input 
  15. Attend municipal meetings 
  16. Join the Federation of Ontario Cottagers Association (FOCA)
5.     Habitat
Management, Conservation and Improvement

Reducing habitat fragmentation, destruction, and
degradation while restoring and improving habitats for local species 

Recommended guidelines: 

  1. Maintain wildlife habitat – save space for wildlife 
  2. Practice better boating practices (minimize wakes near shores, shallows, loon areas and spawning areas)
  3. Respect wildlife and maintain boundaries 
  4. Reduce noise and loud (vs. silent) fireworks
  5. Improve fish habitat along riparian edges (no clearing of habitat features)
  6. Reduce ecological footprints and hardening of surfaces
  7. Reduce night lighting for wildlife, lakes and human health
  8. Conduct wildlife enhancement projects
  9. Improving connectivity between native habitats 
  10. Reduce night lighting and LED lights and/or keep wattage low, cap lights and use timers or sensors

Best outcomes: minimum 60% natural and permeable
lot coverage*

*Best outcomes are consistent with Ontario's guidelines for watershed planning (Environmental Registry of Ontario,
Watershed Planning in Ontario: Guidance for Land-Use Planning Authorities, 2018)

6.     Invasive
Species Management

Decreasing the destruction caused by invasive
species through management, education and reporting 

Recommended guidelines: 

  1. Identify areas of vulnerability to invasive species
  2. Identity invasive species within the community
  3. Identify control and management needs
  4. Educate community members 
  5. Apply controls and management as required and by permit
7. Blue Lakes database

Contributing information such as water quality, angler diaries, or other lake health data into the Blue Lakes database.

Recommended Guidelines:

  1. Maintain an Anglers diary with details such as location, date, weather, equipment used and fish species  
  2. Join the Lake Partner Program to monitor water quality and submit data 
  3. Report species sightings 
  4. Report algal blooms 
8. Reconciliation and Kindness

Acknowledging Indigenous peoples inherent rights and inherent roles as care-takers of the land, waters, plants and animals;  Learn about and recognize the Original Treaties and understand the colonization history and impacts including the Indian Act. Establish respectful relationship with Indigenous Nations, peoples, and communities, and with humility and kindness learn about their reciprocal world views and ways of life. 

Recommended Guidelines:

  1. Start each meeting with a Land Acknowledgement (*and learn about the Indigenous land you are on!)
  2. Learn about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada - the Indian Act, the Duty to Consult (Indigenous Corporate Training has great blogs on various topics)
  3. Incorporate Indigenous practices like learning circles into meetings 
  4. Attend a Land Knowledge Circle event led The Land Between
  5. Enroll in the free Indigenous Canada course offered by the University of Alberta
  6. Attend a First Nations traditional event like a Pow-wow to learn about their culture and way of life (ensure it is open to the public before planning to attend)
  7. Read literature written by Indigenous authors (there are some free books here)
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