A. What is an ecolabel?
An ecolabel is a certification process used to recognize a commitment to sustainability and to award actions that support these goals. The label itself is typically a logo or visual representation of this commitment. Upon registering for the Blue Lakes program, you will receive a window decal to display or Blue Lakes flag to hang at the end of your dock!
B. How do I get started?
To get started, review the Blue Lakes charter and the self assessment scorecard available online; set up a committee responsible for program delivery and assessment; and fill out an online basic application and survey. “Participants” also agree to input any available data for your lake or samples that you take related to fisheries, water quality, etc. into the Blue Lake Database. Once these tasks are completed, you can contact a representative at The Land Between charity to begin your journey.
C. How do I know what the top priority is for my lake?
Top priorities for your lake are determined by data related to your lake’s health (data may be available through the Blue Lakes app and database and/or through other Citizen Science or sampling programs), and from surveys or public input from lake community residents. Additionally, you can use the Blue Lakes charter and Self Assessment Scorecard online to guide you.
D. How do I get people Involved?
Tell your neighbours about the program or host local events within the community to inform people about the Blue Lakes program. You can also refer people to the Blue Lakes webpage at www.bluelakes.ca or call The Land Between at (705) 457-1222 if they have any questions or concerns!
E. How do I deliver the program?
The Land Between in partnership with Watersheds Canada and the Blue Lakes Pilot Team have put together a welcome kit to get people started. The kit includes everything you need to assist you with program delivery and answering any questions people may have before getting involved. Lakes can choose discrete actions or create a strategic plan. There are many ways to achieve success.
F. Who should get involved?
Landowners, lake associations, business owners, local governments or municipalities – the possibilities are endless!
G. What materials and support are available?
Upon registering for the Blue Lakes program, participants will receive a welcome kit that includes everything you need to get started. The Blue Lakes website is a valuable resource containing a portfolio of tools and information, including webinars, best practice guides, research summaries, blogs, calendars of events, and even a social exchange forum to share ideas, thoughts and resources with other participating lakes. The Land Between charity is also here to answer any questions or concerns and can be reached at (705) 457-1222.
H. How do we get an advantage over other lakes?
The objective of the Blue Lakes program is to increase participation in lake stewardship and behaviours among lake-community members. Data is restricted to each lake. Therefore, the more community members and participants that get involved, the healthier your lake potentially becomes!
I. Why is the data in the Blue Lake database and app restricted to my lake?
Lake data confidentiality is kept to ensure that the data is not being utilized for the wrong reasons. Data is restricted to
ensure that your lake’s status is not unduly affected by resource extraction, development, or other social and market reactions and pressures that would result from shared information.
J. Is my Information confidential?
Upon registration in the Blue Lakes program, every “Participant” (individual, association or management committee) is
required to sign a confidentiality agreement to ensure that data access is restricted to your lake community. Additionally, we do not collect or maintain information on individual properties.
K. What can I do with data in the database?
Data within the database relates to your lake’s scorecard, and also to lake health. Specifically, fisheries, water quality and shoreland development data. Data is gleaned from historic reports, Lake Partner Program (LPP), DFO/MNR and other available sources, including from participants. There is no individual property data collected or maintained. Data is there to help participants identify areas in need of attention for their lake and/or to understand general trends. Trends are limited to the amount of historical data available and to current data from participant’s entries.
L. What data do I provide for the Blue Lakes Database?
Water testing programs, angler diaries, association shoreland naturalization projects, lake plan data, any available historical data, any current research, your annual score card, etc.
M. Do you provide the funding for the program?
The Land Between in partnership with Watersheds Canada from time to time accesses funds and sponsorships to support aspects of the program, including to assist landowners or lake communities with stewardship, education, and renaturalization projects.
N. Do we have to pay for the program?
As a pilot program, there is no fee for participating. However, in the future, fees for participation will be fees to the association/committee and will be nominal in order to support basic administration of the program, including maintaining the database. One of the goals of the Blue Lakes program is to provide accessible education and resources to increase lake stewardship among community members and lake associations.
O. Can I use the data to project future conditions?
Blue Lakes data can be used to identify priority areas within your lake. Sufficient data is required to inform trends over time, which in turn can assist in projecting future conditions and remedies.
P. Why should the Blue Lakes program be recognized?
The Blue Lakes program is audited and maintained by a 3rd party charity, avoiding bias and partiality. In addition to increasing education and stewardship behaviours, property values can potentially increase as the label creates a social norm and sense of community. An outcome is that the social and environmental quality of your lake may be improved.
Q. How does the Blue Lakes program affect property values?
Multiple studies have revealed that water quality has shown to be a significant explanatory variable of lakeshore property prices. The management of lake quality is important in maintaining the natural and economic assets of the region (EPA, 2015, Maryland Counties). As the water quality of a lake increases, so does the potential for higher lakeshore property prices. The Blue Lake ecolabel creates a foundation for common goals and therefore a culture of stewardship and caring.
R. Does the Blue Lakes program hinder economic development?
The Blue Lakes program was not created to hinder economic development, but instead to ensure growth is responsible and informed. Based on the Blue Flag Program, the Blue Lake Program bridges the gap between recreation and conservation. In fact, the Blue Lakes program can improve the profile of the lake community and enhance economic development. As an example, the worldwide Blue Flag ecolabel has increased economic revenues and health.