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STOP WASH - Page 3

The Rideau waterway, a series of "wetland wonderlands", is home to thousands of aquatic creatures. Some of the organisms are so tiny they can only be seen with a microscope, yet each is a very important part of the ecosystem. When waves enter the shallow waters, they drag along the bottom and disturb plants, animals and eggs in the area. Waves also erode river banks and destroy loon nests. The strength and size of the waves will determine the impact they have on the shoreline. The larger the wake, the more damage it can cause.

The eggs of most aquatic animals are each enclosed in a protective membrane. Some species, such as fish, insects and frogs lay eggs in the water. Waves from passing boats can break the eggs. They can also stir up the mud from the bottom of the water. This mud sticks to the eggs. This prevents the eggs from getting oxygen. As a result of this, the eggs choke and die. If all this life died as a result of large waves hitting the shore, there would be no food for the bigger fish, the loons or the great blue herons. This would cause a major problem in the food chain. WHY? The smaller animals at the bottom of the food chain would be gone. Therefore, the bigger animals would have no food to eat and would eventually starve. It is for reasons such as these that we want to decrease the amount of wake action produced by our boats.

Waves have impact on the environment by:
  • eroding the shoreline,
  • disturbing shoreline plants and wetland habitats,
  • disturbing aquatic ecosystems, and
  • swamping nests of loons and other waterfowl.
Waves have impact on people by:
  • damaging docks and boats,
  • interfering with safe navigation,
  • upsetting canoes and small boats, and
  • causing danger to swimmers.
A large wave can cause an undertow, especially close to shore where the water is very shallow. This is very dangerous to swimmers, especially children. No one should ever boat near swimmers.

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Friends of the Rideau
1 Jasper Avenue
Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, K7A 4B5

Tel : 613 - 283 - 5810.
email: info@rideaufriends.com

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