Riparian buffer strip: respect a 10 to 15 m strip for your gardens, flowerbeds, composts, chicken coops or paddocks

With spring just around the corner, gardeners are getting ready! The Sutton’s Urban and Land-Use Planning Department would like to remind you of the need to protect the riparian buffer strips along watercourses, ponds and wetlands, which help maintain water quality and aquatic ecosystems.

Gardens, flowerbeds, composts, chicken coops and paddocks are prohibited in a 10 to 15 m strip running alongside watercourses, ponds and wetlands (the riparian buffer strip).

These developments are sources of nutrients (fertilizers), including phosphorus and nitrogen. Even if compost, including that supplied by the City or produced in your yard, is not a synthetic fertilizer, it is a source of nutrients (fertilizers). These enrich the soil and promote plant growth, but when they run off into surface waters, they degrade the ecosystem and the habitats of fish and salamanders, and encourage the proliferation of algae, including harmful blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).

By the way, did you know that Sutton is located in one of the “qualified phosphorus surplus watersheds“? In fact, the Missisquoi Bay (Lake Champlain) watershed, in which we are located, has been afflicted for decades by some of the worst blue-green algae blooms in Quebec. These algae are dramatically compromising access to this wonderful body of water that borders our MRC, right next to Saint-Armand.

So it’s important to show solidarity with the residents and aquatic species downstream, and to protect our riparian buffer strips and waterways.

Please observe the following guidelines:

The shoreline of any property bordering a watercourse, pond or wetland must, over its entire width (10 to 15 m depending on slope), remain in its natural state or be revegetated.

Lawn mowing, planting flowerbeds and gardens, adding soil, compost or fertilizer, depositing plant residues, grass clippings or ashes, and building chicken coops and animal pens are prohibited.

To learn more about Sutton’s riparian buffer standards, consult this information capsule: :

MELCC: Position ministérielle sur la réduction du phosphore dans les rejets d’eaux usées d’origine domestique
MELCC: Bassins versants en surplus de phosphore