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Lake Plans

What is a Lake Plan?

A lake plan is an approach by a lake association to identify and protect the physical, environmental and social values of a lake or river system. It results in a long range vision for the lake community that can be implemented through a series of stewardship direction and potential land use policies.

A lake plan can:

  • Provide education
  • Document the condition of your lake
  • Give guidance for the future development of your lake
  • Identify special attributes of your lake
  • Produce policy that can be used at a municipal level

The majority of lake plans are used for stewardship purposes. Any proposed land use policy must go through a municipal planning process and may involve an official plan amendment and a public review process.


Links and Information

Area Municipality

If your organization does decide to create a lake plan you should contact your local Area Municipality to find out about policies and other lake plans in your area.


District Municipality of Muskoka

Muskoka Official Plan

Muskoka has many policies in its Official Plan directed at protecting lake health, including;

  • Limiting development on lakes
  • Maintaining natural shoreline vegetation
  • Preserving wetlands
  • Maintaining water quality
  • Maintaining vegetation on steep slopes
  • Regulating minimum setbacks for structures and septic systems
  • Protecting Significant Heritage Areas

Section F - Environment of the Official Plan outlines lake and water related issues that should be reviewed when developing your lake plan.


Huntsville - Lake of Bays Lakes Council

The Huntsville - Lake of Bays Lakes Council (HLoBLC) is an association whose prime purpose is to identify and provide a strong voice to promote concerns held in common among Huntsville area lake residents. One function of the HLC is to facilitate lake plan development and provide education on issues involving lakes to promote stewardship.


Centre for Sustainable Watersheds

The Centre for Sustainable Watersheds suggests a six-step process for lake planning:

  1. Get people to buy in to the idea and get a consensus on the right approach
  2. Develop a vision
  3. Assess your lake - State of the Lake Report
  4. Provide on-going communications
  5. Develop a Draft Lake Plan
  6. Circulate, Discuss, Approve


Living Lake Management Plan

This is a web-based tool that enables the creation of a living lake management plan document using a template structure. Key features include water quality monitoring, tracking and reporting, natural shoreline data capture, mapping, septic re-inspection data, electronic surveys, calendar of events, contact info / email distribution lists, and project task management. Use of this tool facilitates lake plan data sharing as well as communication / networking with other associations and various agencies such as Conservation Authorities, MNR, MOE, DFO, Stewardship Ontario and FOCA.


University of Wisconsin - Extension

A Model Lake Plan for a Local Community publication was written for people who live on or use lakes, and for community officials involved in lake management. It sets forth a model management plan for a fictitious area.


Some examples of local lake plans