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A Guide for What Matters: Lake friendly Practices and Actions

WINNIPEG—June 18, 2012—The International Institute for Sustainable Development has identified practical ways people can contribute to water management practices aimed at improving the health of the world’s lakes.

IISD has collaborated with other stakeholders to develop Do What Matters: Lake friendly practices and actions, a guide for residents, farmers, fishers, recreational users, cottagers, students, businesses and local governments. The publication emphasizes the importance of collective action.

While the guide was developed to address issues within the Lake Winnipeg Basin, the best practices described in the guide can be applied to aid any lake experiencing eutrophication (nutrient loading). Nutrient loading can lead to severe and potentially toxic algal blooms.

These practices can help combat nutrient loading in Lake Winnipeg, the 10th largest freshwater lake in the world, and also help water bodies such as the United States and Canada’s Lake Erie; Hungary’s Lake Balaton; Japan’s Lake Biwa; Lake Victoria in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya; and Lake Dianchi in China.

“We want lake friendly practices and actions to become second nature to people,” said Henry David (Hank) Venema, director of IISD’s Water Innovation Centre. “We’re learning lessons and coming up with innovative solutions in the Lake Winnipeg Basin, and we can share these to help other countries experiencing similar problems.”

“The real strength of Do What Matters: Lake friendly practices and actions is that it highlights that everyone—business, government, farmers, homeowners—all need to be part of a broad-based solutions culture that can save money and create other environmental benefits while healing the lake,” Venema said.

Among the best practices featured in the guide are:

  • Sustainable procurement policies for lake friendly products.
  • Nutrient recycling and recovery from wastewater treatment facilities.
  • The use of native grasses and plants requiring low nutrient and water inputs.
  • The use of permeable materials such as wood decking or gravel for parking pads and sidewalks to allow water to percolate into the ground.
  • On-farm water storage and runoff reuse (for example using conserved and restored wetlands).