The potential benefits of the Blue Lakes program are comparable to those experienced by the Blue Flag Program:
- Positive reinforcement for participants
- Broad participation across sectors, jurisdictions and stakeholders and the raising of awareness of all stakeholders involved
- Improvements to the quality of life for residents
- Reduction of safety and environmental risks (and therefore an improvement to insurance rates)
- Minimizes potential for environmental infractions and fines
- Maintenance of natural resources, habitats, and beautiful scenery
- Improvements to environmental conditions
- Improved image, reputation and competitiveness for participating businesses – Competitive advantage
- Better position for communications with stakeholders (improved platform for communications)
- Increases confidence with government, community, residents, etc.
- Leverages government support for programs
- Increased property values
- Increased economic development
- Increased dialogue and the creation of a social norm, which improves relationships and creates a sense of community
- Provides environmental information so informed choices can be made
- Cultivates behaviours that enable communities to stay responsive to the changing climate and social trends
(Reference: Breda University of Applied Sciences. Blue Flag Program St. Maarten)
The Blue Lakes Program has been created thoughtfully and collaboratively in order to reduce risks to participants:
- A pilot year was launched to tailor and test the program with experts and with landowners, and lake association leaders to provide direction and to bring direct experience and concerns of lake-communities forward.
- The label is based on practices and not on environmental condition of the lake, so that, should the label be revoked, it does not inadvertently reduce property values or the reputation of the lake. This consideration was also made because environmental conditions within lakes do not necessary rebound quickly and may not be caused by human actions alone.
- Lake health data is not shared between lake associations or publicly, so as not to direct undue development pressure, fishing pressure or other attention to lakes that are considered pristine, and so as not to negatively affect property values within lake communities where lakes are experiencing environmental issues.
- Oligotrophic and Mesotrophic lakes are assigned Blue Lakes O and M respectively to alert the public that the varying conditions within the lakes are naturally occurring and understood.
- The label has no minimum threshold for participation, reducing pressure on lake associations and lake communities, and allowing spontaneous increases in uptake and momentum, and where each individual’s commitment adds to the strength of the label.