Don’t abandon your region’s conventional watershed management techniques, but realize that these techniques alone will not solve the problems caused by pollutant runoff like excessive weeds, muck, and algae (hyperlink to blog 1). Instead, begin to take control of your personal property with these 5 common sense techniques for improving your hyper-local ecosystem or “lake shed.” Your personal lakeshore restoration efforts will ripple out into your community as you make your home a water-filtering landscape.
5 Steps to Start Today
1. Eliminate the Use of Lawn and Garden Fertilizers
Unfortunately, a green lawn means a green lake. Yuck! Lawn and garden fertilizers contribute to the growth of weeds and algae because they contain phosphorus and nitrogen- which stimulate the growth of these aquatic plants.
Do not use fertilizers within 400 ft of your lake. Even better, get a water pump and use it to water your lawn and garden. Your lake water can be used to fertilize your lawn while removing phosphorus and nitrogen from the lake. If your lake is too mucky to water your lawn, you’ve got a problem with nutrient overloading (hyperlink to blog).
2. Keep Leaves and Clippings Out of The Lake
Dump your leaves and lawn clippings at least 400 ft away from your lake and remove branches, leaves, and weeds from your shoreline and swimming areas.
While cleaning up the yard or having a bonfire, do not burn leaves or brush near the lake. The ash contains high levels of phosphorus and if, after a heavy rainstorm, the ash washes directly into the lake- you may as well be dumping fertilizer right into your water!
3. Keep Your Septic System Maintained
This one is fairly obvious, but avoiding leakage and seepage is critical to local water quality and good lake health. Make sure your septic system is always in good working order.
4. Redesign Your Landscape to Improve Shoreline and Swimming Areas
Develop a lake-friendly landscape and “sea wall.” Lake-friendly design reduces the amount of lawn area, adds “buffer zones” along the shoreline and includes gardens that catch heavy runoff from roofs, driveways, and steep slopes. Here are a few tips to get started on a lake-friendly landscape:
- Use natural rock (called “riprap”) instead of concrete for a sea wall. Riprap provides more habitat for shoreline plants and critters, and does a better job of preventing lake bottom erosion.
- Build a “perched beach” that raises the sandy area above the high-water mark and prevents debris from washing into the lake.
- Use native, drought resistant plants with deep roots that will hold soil in place and filter nutrients during a heavy rainfall.
- Example: Watch EverBlue Lakes founder John Tucci give you a tour of his lake-friendly (and very turtle-friendly) shoreline at his family cottage in Richland, MI.
5. Get Involved with Lake Renewal
As you take care of your personal shoreline or “lake-shed,” your neighbors will take notice and want to know more. EverBlue Lakes can help you educate others and encourage local officials to do more to advocate for broader watershed improvements.
Don’t wait to protect your lake from pollutants! Contact EverBlue Lakes today with any questions or for help with lake renewal.