Think “Lake Friendly” when faced with flooding.

With high water levels sweeping the prairies and risk of significant flooding in the Red River basin this spring, those who have waterfront property should think about what precautions they can take to secure their belongings, though everyone can take measures to minimize their potential impact.

Last week, Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick issued a release about Lake Friendly Manitoba, and a reminder to Manitobans that even those who don’t live lake- or river-side can make a difference. For example, using products identified as “Lake Friendly” will limit everyone’s contribution to the pollution that will result in disastrous algae blooms in Lake Winnipeg this coming summer.

That being said, those who live adjacent to flooding rivers have to take even greater care.

Basically, anything that can float away should be tied down, but larger items like docks and gazebos should be tied such that they can’t swing and do damage to sandbag dikes. Tying them so they are secured on two ends will also minimize the damage they can do to themselves – being buffeted between trees or other permanent structures.

If you have a backyard composter, turn the lid upside down and secure it with rocks or bricks so it doesn’t float away; move any chairs, flowerpots, garbage, firewood or unsecured fire pits to higher ground. Wood Duck boxes should be serviced before high water as the adults will be looking for clean and dry places to nest before the higher water retreats.

Maybe most importantly, any sheds with paint cans or fuel containers, gas-powered lawn mowers, or snow blowers, stored fertilizers or other chemicals should be emptied and secured. These products can do significant damage to aquatic ecosystems even in small quantities. In fact, if you have to move them up and out, why not consider something cleaner like a push mower and organic lawn care products as replacements? That would make our friends at Lake Friendly Manitoba happier than a clam.