Is a crib dock bad for the environment?
If it dates back to the old days when docks went in willy-nilly, no permits required – chances are good that it destroyed fish habitats. But now that it’s there, it may be more of an asset than a liability. The spaces between the rocks in established crib docks (unless they’re totally enclosed, which is problematic) usually become fish habitat and, for smaller fish, a haven from predators. So taking the dock out means destroying that habitat, on top of the mess that the removal process inevitably makes of the lake bottom and shoreline. For any crib dock over 15 square metres, you’d need a permit to remove it, as part of the process you’d go through for installing a new dock or repairing a damaged one.
If your crib dock is damaged or deteriorating, however, you need expert help to determine if it’s best to get rid of it once and for all. The place to start is your local municipal office. For more about crib dock repairs and the permit process, see “Crib Notes” from the May 2004 issue of Cottage Life.