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Enviro Lac Gauvreau

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Shoreline restoration is crucial to maintaining lake health

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A natural, vegetated shoreline is crucial to protecting the quality of water in a lake. It filters out nutrients and slows down runoff to the lake. This protects lake water quality, keeping it clean and clear for us all.

The shoreline is protected by provincial laws. For example, a septic system cannot be installed within 30 meters from the high water line, and the first 5 meters from the high water line must be naturalized and no vegetation is allowed to be removed from this area. This means no lawns, beaches or other landscaping—including tree removal for a view—in that area. Owners who do not comply run the risk of fines for not restoring the lakeshore to its natural state.

For many years shoreline laws have not been enforced and many people are not aware that these laws exist. Therefore, Enviro Lac Gauvreau has organized workshops to educate lake owners on their responsibilities and help them naturalize their shoreline. At the same time, Enviro Lac Gauvreau has asked the municipality to help protect the lake by enforcing these laws.

Free plants! Pick up Saturday, May 11th, 2024 - morning
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Free plants! Pick up May 11 morning
Planting shrubs and trees on the shoreline absorbs nutrients before they get into the lake. High nutrient levels result in excess plant and algae growth, decrease oxygen for fish, and speed up the aging of the lake. It is against the law in Quebec to remove natural vegetation within 10m of the shore.

That is why we are once again giving away free plants to residents who are restoring their shorelines. See our latest emailed newsletter to find out where to pick up your free plants on May 11, 2024 from 10 am - 12pm noon. There will be cold drinks and a chance to chat with Enviro Lac Gauvreau Board Members and fellow neighbours who are all working together for the health of the lake. 




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Planting shrubs and trees helps protect the shoreline. Back next year!
June, 2023 — Our lake has consistently high nutrient levels resulting in excess plant and algae growth. There have been potentially dangerous blue-green algae blooms in the last 10 years.

You can help protect our lake by planting shrubs and trees on the shoreline; this simple measure will absorb nutrients before they get into the lake. Enviro Lac Gauvreau has over the last few years purchased native plants to be planted on the shoreline, and plans to continue this program next year. In the meantime, please continue to naturalize your lakeshore.

Report from ABV des 7 biologists recommends shoreline restoration strategies to help restore lake health
April 9, 2022 —The non-profit environmental organization ABV des 7 presented a well attended Zoom webinar for residents on the morning of April 9th. The objective was to present the rationale, and make recommendations, based on their recently released report on the condition of Lac Gauvreau and its shoreline. The report was commissioned by the Enviro Lac Gauvreau owners association.

Based on onsite observations and scientific evaluations, biologist Jean-François Ouellet, M. Env., who is the General Manager of ABV des 7, assured that much can be done to preserve and restore lake health. In presenting the organization's report, his prime recommendation was the preservation and restoration of the lake's riparian (shoreline) buffer.

What role can property owners play?

The report emphasized that restoration of the lake's shoreline is one of the most important measures residents can take to avoid nutrients flowing into the water, a strategy that is vital to preventing further premature aging of Lac Gauvreau.

Our lake is aging quickly

According to the report, Lac Gauvreau is aging prematurely. The lake's eutrophication (rate of aging) ranges from the mesotrophic classification all the way to the extreme end of the more serious eutrophic ranking, especially in Parent Creek and at its outflow. Eutrophication is the process in which lakes receive nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) and sediment from the surrounding watershed, and become more fertile and shallow. The higher a body of water rates on the Trophic state index, the more quickly the lake ages. A process that usually takes hundreds of years can be accelerated significantly by the presence of high nutrient levels. The report cautions that climate change has become a compounding factor that makes it even more important to take action now.

Mesotrophic lakes are commonly clear water lakes with beds of submerged aquatic plants and medium levels of nutrients. Eutrophic lakes, on the other hand, contain excessive nutrients—especially nitrogen and phosphorus—which promote the growth of algae blooms and aquatic plants such as Eurasian watermilfoil. Lac Gauvreau exhibits telltale evidence of a lake that is suffering from premature aging.

Generally, phosphorus intake driven by anthropogenic (human) causes can come from agricultural drainage, non-compliant septic tanks, and impermeable infrastructures close to the lake (structures that prevent the free flow of water). A watershed map of the area clearly shows that a good amount of the pollution entering Lac Gauvreau is from agricultural productivity, mainly via Parent Creek. This is by no means the sole source, however, and other contributing factors must be addressed as well if the lake is to be brought back into balance.

Call for Action: Overview of observations

  • The state of the lake is much worse than what biologists originally thought;
  • Clarity tests indicate that the water is not clear;
  • The lake shoreline is neglected in many locations;
  • The lake does not have a seasonal mixing to oxygenate deep water;
  • There are many unnatural beaches created by sand that has been brought in;
  • Parent creek is subject to pollution from agricultural runoff which ends up in the lake;
  • The Whippoorwill campsite is too close to the shoreline;
  • Blue-green algae bloomed last spring and summer and into the 2021 fall season;
  • Milfoil has spread significantly since the organization's last inventory and continues to proliferate;
  • The human population around the lake is VERY dense. In 2021, there were 183 cottages, including 84 permanent within a radius of 150 meters around the lake;
  • Since 50% of these cottages have septic tanks built before 2000, it is recommended that they be checked.
Who is ABV des 7 and what is its mandate?

For several years, ABV des 7 has been actively working with area stakeholders such as lake associations—including Enviro Lac Gauvreau—as concerns mount about environmental issues. ABV des 7 consists of a team of five specialists in stakeholder engagement, geomatics, limnology, and ecology. Their activities and services include:
  • Preventing water pollution;
  • Monitoring water bodies;
  • Protecting wetlands;
  • Building community capacity;
  • Fighting against invasive species;
  • Engaging and educating people.
ABV des 7 has no administrative authority and is not associated with any government body. It is simply a not-for-profit group that, upon request, makes recommendations on the basis of environmental assessments.

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(To read the report in the language of your choice, download the report and use





Biologists from ABV des 7 assess shoreline condition
July 25, 2021 — You may have seen the team of biologists from ABV des 7 touring the lake to record the condition of our shoreline. This is part of our effort to update the “Characterization of the Shoreline” report commissioned in 2013. Restoration of the shoreline through planting of native plants and bushes is the most important contribution we can all make to avoid more nutrients reaching the lake.

Enviro Lac Gauvreau offers shoreline restoration workshops
July 6, 2021 — The first workshop gave property owners a general idea on how to naturalize their lake shore. As each property is different, Enviro Lac Gauvreau offers consultations, free of charge, with a landscaper who specializes in lakeshore restoration. With that advice, further action can be planned. Consultations will take place during a few weekends in August.

Based on the consultations, Enviro Lac Gauvreau will negotiate bulk purchase with various suppliers to provide native plants in early spring of 2022. Based on still available budget, the purchase will be subsidized.
If you are interested in improving your lakeshore, we offer free expert consultation in groups. Please sign up by sending an email to: enviro.gauvreau@gmail.com. We will then contact you to let you know of future workshops.
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July 6, 2021 — Over 25 participants attended the first 90 minute Shoreline Restoration workshop.
  • Explanation of why shoreline restoration is important;
  • Discussion of how to restore a shoreline using the shorelines around your property;
  • Discussion of native plant species that can be used and where to get them; and
  • Demonstration of planting on a sandy shoreline.

Protection Policy for Lakeshores, Riverbanks, Littoral Zones and Floodplains
(Quebec Provincial legislation governing shoreline restoration)

Lakeshores, riverbanks, littoral zones and floodplains are critical to the survival of the ecological and biological components of watercourses and bodies of water. In keeping with its desire to grant them adequate, minimum protection, the Gouvernement du Québec adopted the Politique de protection des rives, du littoral et des plaines inondables on 22 December 1987, acting on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment pursuant to section 2.1 of the Environment Quality Act (chapter Q-2).

In 1991, the Government broadened the application of the Policy to cover all watercourses in Québec. The Policy was revised in 1996 to address various problems that had been encountered in implementing it. In order to enable the adoption of measures better suited to objectives pursued, the new Policy among other things allowed regional county municipalities and urban communities to submit a management plan for its lakeshores, riverbanks or littoral zones for approval and to adopt special protection measures departing wholly or in part from the measures set out in the Policy.

Although the Policy seeks to clarify the types of activity that may or may not be carried on in the targeted environments, the management plan mechanism enables allowance to be made for certain special circumstances, in consideration of the quality of the environment or the degree to which the environment has been artificialized. Strict enforcement of the Policy in such circumstances may not always be realistic, making it necessary to adopt different measures while nevertheless continuing to ensure adequate protection, enhancement and, if need be, rehabilitation of riparian zones.

> Read more PDF

The Anne Leech Shoreline Revitalization Project
    rowing Shoreline Revitalization Project
    In 2015, the then Lake Association started its first Shoreline Revitalization Project. It was named in honour of the late Anne Leech who was the first true advocate for a healthier lakeshore.

    The project offered incentives to participants and also used a number of templates designed by ABV des 7 that lakeshore owners could use as examples. To see the templates, click on the button for the lakeshore type that most resembles yours. Those templates are still valid and we hope that they will be used to make improvements.
    waves Template #1 - "Shoreline Rock Pile Wall"
    Revitalization Template 1 - The Shoreline: "Rock Pile Wall"
    A rock pile wall is good for:
    • Limiting soil erosion during runoff
    • Reducing sediment flowing into the water
    • Protecting the shore from wave action
    But a rock pile wall without vegitation:
    • Insufficient oxygenation due to lack of wave breakup
    • Encourages the accumulation of organic material
    • Lack of shady zone to keep water cool
    • Contributes to warming and evaporation
    waves Template #2 - "A mown lawn is not good for the lake"
    Revitalization Template 2 - The Shoreline: "Mown Lawn"
    Why a mown lawn is not good for my lake:
    • It doesn’t prevent runoff, promoting the accumulation of organic matter and sediment in the water;
    • It doesn’t filter fertilizer, pesticide and sediment contained in the runoff water;
    • The bank is not stabilized: this can cause filling in of the spawning locations for fish, and offers no natural wind break for their habitations;
    • There is no shade to limit warming of the water;
    • Doesn’t allow for habitations, food and shelter for fauna;
    • Reduces the quality of the landscaping around the water.
    waves Template #3 - "Retaining Wall"
    Revitalization Template 3- The Shoreline: "Retaining Wall"
    Retaining wall is good for:
    • Limiting erosion and to stabilize a slope
    But a bare retaining wall without vegetation:
    • Turns a natural and diversified bank, into a sterile environment barely capable of supporting life. It damages part of the shore and fish habitat.
    • The rock and concrete store heat from the sun, warming the water around: causes a decrease in water quality.
    • Requires maintenance and repair
    • Can accelerate erosion of neighbouring shores
    Natural stabilization tends to become stronger than a wall, as long as the the plants grow and spread.