Stewardship Guidelines

written by minsky on October 4, 2013 in News with no comments



You may view the guidelines below or click here to download and print a PDF file.

Please Note: Bylaw 184, the Riparian Area Protection Law and the Development Permit Area (DPA) designation around the Lakes is now in effect. Familiarize yourself with these regulations before you embark on development activities on your property. These regulations further strengthen our stewardship & protect the drinking water for Magic Lake Estates.

Certain riparian rights and responsibilities come with living on a lake which is also a drinking water Reservoir. We lake shore residents can do several things to be good stewards of the water:


A) Shore buffer zones are important:

* They protect water quality:

A shoreline buffer zone of native vegetation filters the sediments from runoff waters. The addition of sediments to a lake can block light needed for plant photosynthesis, and can smother life on the bottom, such as fish eggs, and insects that are a crucial component of the food web. Sediments also can carry contaminants such as phosphorous and agricultural chemicals into surface waters. Native vegetation within shoreline buffer zones act as a natural filter to trap sediments contained in runoff waters before they reach lakes and rivers.

If properly established and maintained, a full riparian buffer can remove at least:

- 50 percent of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

- 60 percent of some bacteria,

- 75 percent of sediment

* They protect wildlife habitat :

Shoreline buffer zones are an extremely important habitat for many species of wildlife such as birds, mammals, frogs, and fish. Trees and shrubs along the shoreline are important feeding, nesting, and perching areas for songbirds. Standing dead trees, or snags, also provide habitat for those species that use cavities for nesting, such as the woodpeckers, chestnut-backed chickadees, nuthatches, wood ducks, mergansers, tree swallows, and saw-whet owls.

* They help stop erosion:

Buffer zones also stabilize shoreline banks and reduce bank erosion. The roots of the trees, shrubs, and ground cover plants help stabilize shorelines.

* They provide privacy screens and add aesthetic values to shoreline property.

B) Plant native plants to help to restore the shoreline buffer zone

Take a look around the lake at the native plants which are thriving along the shoreline. Ask a neighbour if you can take some cuttings and try rooting your own shrubs, or try a nursery which specializes in native plants. Fraser’s Thimble Nursery on Salt Spring and Russell Nursery on Wain Road in Saanich have some native plants. Call and inquire. Some good choices are: Trees: Pacific Willow (Salix lucida spp. Lasiandra) Shrubs and Shrubby Trees: Red-Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum), Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), Scouler’s Willow (Salix scouleriana), Hardhack (Spirea douglasii), Red-osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) Wetland Plants: Slough Sedge (Carex obnupta) helps slope stabilization. Invasive Plants to Avoid: Purple loosestrife and Yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus) (Guide to Weeds)


Non-toxic wood for docks construction Environment Canada and the CRD recommend avoiding the use of pressure-treated wood when replacing or building new docks. However, if you have a dock that has pressure-treated wood, please seal the wood with a wood penetrating sealer or a non-toxic stain. The sealer or stain will reduce your exposure to the wood preservatives and minimize leaching.

Cedar is the best choice for dock construction because it has a natural resistance to rot and insect invasion. Cedar will last a long time and weather beautifully without a finish. If you must stain: Use a drop cloth or tarp while sanding, and staining to prevent stain from dropping into the water.

Eco-blocks for dock replacement. Please use eco-blocks as flotation material. These are made of encapsulated Styrofoam. The plastic encasement material is melted onto the Styrofoam and will prevent the foam from breaking down over time and therefore will prevent injury to wildlife.


Avoid using chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. If you can’t dig them out by the roots, try pouring boiling water (or a vinegar and water solution) over the exposed roots of plants like dandelion, thistle and burdock if you want to get rid of them. Try to minimize light pollution as it can affect fish, amphibians, bats and your neighbours. Turn off unnecessary lights at night, and direct your lights downward so they do not shine on or across the lake. In order to keep gasoline and/or oil out of the water, avoid using any motorized watercraft on the lake. Avoid letting domestic animals into the lake.


Thoroughly wash all watercraft to be used in the lake. Use a diluted bleach and water solution to scrub any new watercraft being put into the lake to avoid introducing (American bull frog) eggs or invasive plants such as Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) to the water, or Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) or yellow flag iris to the shoreline. Never dump aquarium fish and plants into the lake.


Keep your lot as natural as possible and try to allow corridors or safe travel paths for wildlife. Work with your neighbours to help create corridors between properties which connect natural areas or to connect your shoreline area with upland wild areas.


Our native frog species are under threat. The American bullfrog is an invasive species which is spreading up Vancouver Island and was introduced to the Port Washington Road area a few years ago. It is spreading rapidly. It can grow up to 8″ in length and weigh up to 1.5 lbs. The females lay up to 20,000 eggs. It competes with or preys on smaller native frog species and frequently carries a fungus which is lethal to some amphibians. It eats ducklings, fish, or other frogs. Do NOT move any frogs or other aquatic organisms from one pond or lake to another. If you think you see or hear an American bullfrog, call the Buck Lake Property Owners’ Association, Chair Marika Kenwell at 250-629-8346.


If you observe sewer break/backup, call CRD 250-629-6610 or 1-250-388-6275 Pager 2614

Resources used:

1. CRD Website -enter keywords “bare Styrofoam.”

2. Environment Canada website – enter keywords “pressure-treated wood for docks.”

3. PEEL Public Health Organization – key words “pressure-treated wood for docks.”

4. BC Lake Stewardship Society – good information about BC lake stewardship projects

5. On the Living Edge – Your Handbook for Waterfront Living, Sarah Kipp & Clive Callaway,

6. University of Wisconsin

Although this is an American publication and some of the information is not appropriate for our area, it does contain some helpful information. You can download a booklet entitled Shoreland Property – a guide to environmentally sound ownership

7. Many other good sites on watershed stewardship and lake stewardship are available.

8. Sylvia Pincott, co-author of the Naturescape BC Stewardship Series.

Compiled and distributed May 2005 – Updated June 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

This content also available on our Stewardship Guidelines Page

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