Intelligent stewardship of your land in autumn

The fall degradation of the lake in front of you…
Do you know that if you carry out intelligent maintenance of your property in the fall, it will improve water quality during the following season.
In the autumn there is an increase in run-off and leaching of land and ditches. Heavy, frequent rains and dormant vegetation increases the amount of water and the particles that flow into the lake.
In addition, the arrival of the cold weather causes a homogeneous restructuring of the water. This phenomenon, called water destratification brings on a mixing of the layers of water. This happens after a cyanobacteria bloom and comes about because the phosphorus which is held at the bottom in the summer (the thermal stratification) rises to the surface and promotes the proliferation of the algae.
Towards the end of the fall, when the lake begins to freeze, the mixing stops, giving way to a period of sedimentation where the leached material sinks to the bottom.
In the winter, the bacteria consume a large amount of oxygen as they degrade all the organic material.  If the ice is thick and there is no exchange of oxygen with the atmosphere, the bottom (hypolimnion) becomes anoxic (lack of oxygen), which disturbs the aquatic life and the chemistry of the sediments. In the spring, many dead fish might be found floating on the surface because of the lack of oxygen during the winter. The lack of oxygen also contributes to freeing of the phosphorus in the sediments.
In the spring, this additional phosphorus load is added to the nutrients carried by the spring run-off. This promotes the growth of aquatic plants and algae and contributes to eutrophication of the lake.
Your fall stewardship solution…
Knowing the above described situation, you will understand that in the fall your activities should focus on decreasing run-off, promoting the retention of pollutants in the soil and reducing the amount of organic material entering the lake. Here are a few suggestions that will make your fall cleanup more ecological!


Autumn leaves
In the fall, you can reduce the quantity of phosphorus that enters the lake by gathering up the fallen leaves. Like all organic debris that finds its way into the water, they are a source of nutrients that contributes to eutrophication, so it is essential to make sure no leaves and branches end up ibn the lake.
It is smart to:

  1. Get rid of your leaves and branches at the annual pick-up of leaves by the Town of Brome Lake on November 16, 2019
  2. Use your leaves to cover your flower beds.
  3. Chop up the leaves with the lawn mower if your property is flat, (a process called herbicycling). For slopes, it is better to rake up all the leaves to prevent them from being carried into the lake by the rain.

 

The lakeside buffer zone
Many gardeners consider the fall to be the season for their big clean-up! Some people trim, cut and gather up debris so their flower beds will be tidy and ready to green up beautifully next spring. It is actually better to garden the lazy way and leave the fall clean-up to Mother Nature! This holds true of the buffer zone beside the lake. No preparation for winter is necessary. You shouldn’t cut anything – leave it all there.

Emptying of spa and swimming pool
The pool and spa contain various chemical products that can harm aquatic life and negatively impact water quality. It is essential that the water from these facilities does not go directly into the lake. So, before emptying them, let the water sit without treatment for 5 to 7 days and make sure that the chlorine level is practically 0. Empty these facilities on a planted or rocky surface to allow for water filtration.

 

 

Boat storage
When putting away your boats for the winter, take a moment to clean them properly. This will help to avoid spreading invasive exotic species in the lake. Here are the steps to follow to clean your boat, trailer and equipment: 

  1. Empty out accumulated water
  2. Remove the plant matter, visible organisms and mud
  3. Clean with a pressure washer
  4. Let dry

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