Healthy Shorelines for Healthy Lakes

What is Love Your Lake?


A shoreline evaluation program

Love Your Lake is a shoreline evaluation program developed by Watersheds Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF), and conducted for any shoreline community across the country by local organizations.
The program invites lake associations and organizations to volunteer their lake as participants in the program. If accepted, every property on the lake will be assessed using a standardized assessment protocol, and landowners will get a personalized property report with details on the state of their shoreline and recommended actions for improving lake health for people and wildlife.

Love Your Lake Success!

The Love Your Lake program has been running since 2013. During this time, we have successfully assessed 216 lakes and 49,753 shoreline properties.


# of Lakes Assessed

# of Properties Assessed




British Columbia

Nova Scotia

Love Your Lake

Freshwater lakes are essential for ecological function and social economic needs. Properties along the shoreline can make a great impact on a lake or river. Participating in Love Your Lake is a great way to gauge the health of your lake, and gives you tools to make it healthier. We can help you become stewards of your lake.

Why is it Important
to Protect Your Lake

Lakes and rivers are the most sustainable source of fresh water for humans and wildlife. Canada has more lake area than any other country and so we have a responsibility to protect it. This is what our lakes do for us:
Ontario’s fisheries contribute more than $2.2 billion annually to the provincial economy (, 2015)
The Great Lakes provide drinking water to more than 80 per cent of Ontario and 40 per cent of Canada (Ontario, 2016)
Ontario saw over 73 million tourists in 2010 visiting the Great Lakes with an estimated spending of $12.3 billion (Ontario, 2016)
Fresh water bodies support over 100,000 species (Dudgeon et al, 2006)
They contain Mycobacterium vaccae, a bacteria commonly found in soil, which may have the potential to combat PTSD and depression (Hlavac, 2017)
They give us water for washing, cooking and sanitization, and recreation

Lake Data

Upland areas need to be managed as well as shorelines to ensure a properly functioning riparian area (this is the area of land just before the shoreline)” (Committee on Riparian Zone Functioning and Strategies for Management, Water Science and Technology Board, National Research Council, 2002).

The Great Lakes contain 18 per cent of the world’s fresh water” (Environment Canada, 2013).

One pound of phosphorus can produce up to 500 pounds of algae growth once washed into a lake” (Henderson, Dindorf, & Rozumalski, 1998).

A 60 per cent canopy cover along a shoreline is required to maintain effective temperature control of the water” (Environment Canada, 2013, p. 49).

As much as 90 per cent of the animal species who live in lakes either pass through or live in the littoral zone [the areas close to shore]” (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2011, p. 8).

“Natural riparian corridors are the most diverse, dynamic, and complex biophysical habitats on the terrestrial portion of the Earth” (Naiman, Decamps, & Pollock, 1993, p. 209).

As watershed imperviousness (unnatural surfaces, i.e., concrete walkways) surpassed 10 per cent, there was a rapid decline in fish habitat and channel stability of riparian zones” (Environment Canada, 2013, p. 54).

Habitat degradation and impaired riparian conditions have been associated with 90 per cent of the observed extinctions and declines of salmon in the Pacific Northwest” (Committee on Riparian Zone Functioning and Strategies for Management, Water Science and Technology Board, National Research Council, 2002).


“Our cottage association and cottage community has embraced the Love Your Lake program, as it meshes perfectly with our lake stewardship initiatives, and our drive to keep our lake pristine.”

Stephen, Ontario


“I don't think we can say enough about how pleased we are about having completed the first ever shoreline assessment of all properties on Salmon Lake. Although this is the first step in a long program to promote the renaturaliz[ation] of our shorelines, where recommended by your program, it's an essential baseline that allows us to monitor our progress and continuing success in the years ahead.”

- Les, Ontario


"To date, this program appears a good start for citizens who are concerned about Saskatchewan lakes’ water quality. The educational component and shoreline assessments will have added value to our ultimate goal of healthy lakes and shorelines. We anticipate the results of our shoreline assessment and hope to continue along this path, which will enable people to participate in the Love Your Lake program to make a difference.”

- Penny, Saskatchewan


“It was only after receiving the Love Your Lake report that we considered naturalization as an option for our shoreline. Before that we were certainly not aware that the shoreline could be kept by any other means other than a retaining wall. At this point we are very happy that we’re able to use the Love Your Lake program to help us naturalize the waterfront and to help stop erosion into the lake.”

- Debbie, Ontario

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