Nature Canada

Spring Guidelines for Living by the Water

If you live by a lake, river or stream, or own a cottage near water, check out this seasonal guide for maintaining your waterfront property. It’s a good way to protect your investment and the environment.

The information originally appeared in On the Living Edge: Your Handbook for Waterfront Living, by Sarah Kipp and Clive Calloway, as part of the Living by Water project.

Here are several tips just in time for Spring:
High Water
Prepare in the fall to manage spring runoff. Even in low snow areas, meltwater from upstream may add to runoff through your property.

Septic Systems
Conserve water to reduce the volume going into your septic leaching bed. High spring water tables and saturated ground may reduce the effectiveness of your system.

If you suspect that the water table is higher than your septic leaching bed, contact a septic inspector. You could be contaminating surface water.

Pump your tank late in the summer. If you pump when the water table is high, the empty tank could float up.

Flood Preparedness
You local Conservation Authority will likely have maps that can identify if you are in a flood risk area. If your home or property is at risk from imminent flooding contact your municipality or local emergency services for assistance.

Spring Mud
Avoid using a muddy driveway. Rake out ruts before they dry and harden.
Use planks or boards to create temporary boardwalks. This saves compacting the soil and helps keep mud out of your house and car.

Docks
Hold off putting docks into the water until ground conditions have hardened, to prevent damage to the shoreline.

Spring Clean-up
Remove human-made garbage; it can harm wildlife and their habitat, interfere with your recreation and it’s ugly! But leave nature’s debris; logs, branches and trees that have washed up on your shoreline or beach. Resist collecting them for firewood – they are essential to protecting your shoreline from erosion.

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