Yes, in most cases permits are required. It is the individual’s or lake association’s responsibility to check what the regional requirements are. In the United States, it is understood that permits are readily available to install benthic mats. Benthic mats/non-biodegradable screen type sheets are commonly sold at cottage shows across the United States and Canada. The burlap kit is just a biodegradable benthic mat.
In Canada, permits have been issued in the past. However, getting permits can be a challenging process. Often lake associations will manage the permit process for the entire lake. The challenge with Canada is that the Fisheries Act within the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), is set up to protect fish and fish habitats. Ironically, that same bill is slowing down the process to actually repair fish habitats. Currently, senior officials at DFO recognize this and are willing to work with us to resolve the situation.
The primary issue is that the Fisheries Act basically states that you can’t harm fish habitats – which make a lot of sense. That is interpreted through the provincial levels to regional levels as “you can’t put sand in a lake”. This stemmed from issues back in the 70’s when cottagers were dumping truckloads of sand on their shorelines to create beaches, which in turn damaged the delicate fish habitats. However, in our case we are actually trying to repair habitats that have already been damaged by milfoil. In this situation the fish habitat as well as the indigenous vegetation have all been completely displaced by the milfoil and if nothing is done the milfoil will continue to spread and increase the damage. In the end the sand we install averages to approximately 3/32” per square yard (2mm/m2).
Part of supporting this project is becoming a member of a large group focused on lobbying government groups and organizations to streamline the overall processes. As per spam laws, any backer will always have the opportunity to easily opt out of being part of this group. Groups will be organized by province and state to address local details.