CLEAN LAKE HABITS
CLEAN WATER STARTS WITH ME
(from booklet “A Fresh View of the Lake”)
A healthy lake doesn’t just happen. It comes about when shoreline owners, inland residents, recreational users, agricultural producers and other businesses all take positive action in maintaining and improving water quality.
CURB POLLUTANTS – Curb pollutants at their source – fertilizers, household toxins, eroding soils, malfunctioning septic systems.
Minimize Fertilizer Use: Remember it is phosphorus that accelerates algae growth in our lakes & rivers. Most lawns already contain adequate amounts of phosphorous. When purchasing fertilizer, be sure the middle number on the bag is ZERO. It is ILLEGAL to use fertilizer with phosphorus in Minnesota.
Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste Properly: Gasoline, oil, solvents, old paints, thinners, fertilizers, pesticides, cleaners and many other products need to be disposed of properly. http://www.co.becker.mn.us/dept/environmental_services/hhw.aspx
If you wouldn’t drink it – don’t dump it!
Minimize Erosion: Although erosion occurs naturally, human activities may significantly increase the rate of erosion. Removing natural vegetation, increase the rate of erosion. Before taking action to correct erosion, determine why the erosion is occurring. Without understanding the problem, your actions may be a waste of time and money.
- Noticeable recession of the shoreline
- Leaning or downed trees with exposed roots
- Large patches of muddy water near the shoreline
- A large area of bare soil on the slope facing the water
Inspect & Maintain your Septic System: The more water and material that go into your septic system, the more that comes out into your drain field. If nutrients seep underground into the lake, aquatic plant growth and algae blooms are likely results. It is important for your family’s health and the lake’s health to be sure your septic is properly maintained.
Conserve water – use low-flow toilets, faucets and showerheads to reduce water volume.
CUT RUNOFF – Cut the amount of runoff that picks up pollutants and carries them to the waterways by reducing the hard surfaces that create runoff.
Reduce Hard Surfaces: Rainwater that doesn’t soak into the ground but instead runs off hard surfaces (impervious) or washes off lawns and steep slopes is called runoff. This runoff carries nutrients, sediments, toxic materials, bacteria and other pollutants that can reduce water clarity, increase aquatic plants and algae, and impact fish and wildlife habitat.
Allowing water to soak in rather than run off your property filters out pollutants and replenishes our groundwater.
(Include picture from brochure & explanation)
Learn from Mother Nature – Plant Trees & Shrubs: Natural Vegetation will reduce runoff by holding back the water to provide time for it to soak into the ground.
- Minimize removal of wooded areas. Their removal causes more rain to fall to the ground instead of landing on trees and branches.
- Grading large areas of land removes the natural depressions where water can pond and soak in.
- Carefully landscape your yard, especially along the shoreline, to direct runoff away from the lake.
- Landscaping with Native Plants
Leave the suburban lawn mentality in the city.
- Keeping the lawn natural will reduce maintenance and increase its ability to absorb runoff.
- Consider replacing some of the grass in your lawn with native grasses that don’t need watering.
- If watering is needed, water deeply to encourage deep root growth. Water with lake water, using the nutrients in the lake to make a healthy lawn instead of applying fertilizer.
Direct Downspouts onto your Lawn or Landscaping, not onto Hard Surfaces: This will allow water from your rooftops a chance to be absorbed and filtered before flowing in the lake or street.
CAPTURE & CLEANSE –
Install a Rain Barrel: Rain barrels are fun as well as functional. Collect water from your rooftop to water your yard and gardens during dry periods. The barrel should be covered to keep out leaves and insects. www.rainbarrelsrus.com
Build a Rain Garden: Rain gardens are excellent habitat for butterflies and birds. Blue Thumb is a great source for helping plan and plant a rain garden. www.bluethumb.org
Create a Shoreline Buffer: Before you begin creating a shoreland buffer, re- think what your shoreland should look like. Consider the characteristics on your property and determine what you want to accomplish. Buffers are helpful in all of the following:
- Slows and Filters Runoff: Buffers slow runoff and allow rain to soak into the ground.
- Stabilizes the Shoreline: Buffers prevent fluctuating water levels, moving ice, flooding, surface runoff and wave action from eroding your shoreline.
- Provides Habitat: The water’s edge provides food and cover for birds, butterflies, turtles and other wildlife.
- Enhances Aesthetics: Natural buffers beautify your yard with a variety of colorful wildflowers that bloom throughout the season.
- Increase Property Value: A well-done buffer is an asset that adds value.
- Limits Nuisance Wildlife: A plant buffer creates a natural barrier to Canada geese.