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Lakes for All, and All for Lakes!

By Camille Dallaire, Communications Lead at Conseil régional de l’environnement de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue (CREAT) 

Following the example of the Solidarity movement that has inspired the motto “One for All, and All for One!” popularized by Alexandre Dumas’ Three Musketeers, let’s proclaim loud and clear “Lakes for All, and All for Lakes!” when it comes to controlling aquatic invasive alien species. 

With over 20,000 lakes in the AbitibiTémiscamingue region, we can fully enjoy nature and practise various sports, both in summer and in winter. Lakes are here for us, so let’s return the favour and take care of them. 

Access to such a water system is a real blessing, but this abundance can cause some people to be careless, moving from a lake to another without worrying about the possible impacts. 

This is why it is crucial to raise awareness among recreational boaters from home and abroad on the cleaning of pleasure crafts and nautical equipment, in order to avoid the spread of aquatic invasive alien species. 

Do not forget to clean your pleasure craft before kayaking down the Bell River from La Sarre, Trécesson, Belleterre or Amos, like these happy recreational boaters! By courtesy of: Christian Leduc 

Whether visitors in the region come from here or from other regions or provinces, the flood of tourists bringing in our regional ecosystem, with their pleasure crafts, nonnative microorganisms or aquatic plants is a threat to the health of our waterways. 

As eradicating those species is almost impossible, the only way to prevent their spread is the cleaning of pleasure crafts and nautical equipment: canoes, kayaks, standup paddle boards, rowboats, diving equipment, etc. You must clean anything that has been in contact with water before moving to another waterway! 

  1. INSPECT anything that has been in contact with water to remove plants, visible debris and mud from the equipment used. 
  2. DRAIN the water that has accumulated in, among others, the craft, the fish wells, the motor, the bilge and the icebox, about a hundred feet away from the water point. 
  3. CLEAN the craft and all equipment with a pressure washer to effectively remove all organisms without damaging the craft or the equipment, OR let them dry for at least five days. 
  4. REPEAT these steps after each use. 

To encourage recreational boaters to use the different cleaning stations located on the AbitibiTémiscamingue territory, CREAT launched, at the beginning of summer, the SOIS PAS NONO, LAVE TON BATEAU [DON’T BE STUPID, CLEAN YOUR BOAT] initiative, which is a summer contest to control the spread of aquatic invasive alien species. The contest prize is a kayak worth $700, courtesy of Marine Lamy. It will be drawn on August 20. 

Lakes for All, and All for Lakes! Ultimately, we are all in the same boat, so let’s just not forget to clean it well before moving to another water body!