The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers stormwater runoff as the number one threat to water quality in our lakes and streams. Sediment collects in catch basins or storm drains in our roads to prevent run off from entering the lake. Roads are cleaned yearly and these basins are also regularly cleaned out; but as lakefront homeowners, boat dock users and beach goers know, run off continues to collect in our lakes. As roads are repaired and replaced, catch basins and drainage areas are improved.
Lakefront homeowners play a big part in preventing sediment from flowing into the lake from their yards. Sand and dirt from yards enter the lake during rainstorms. Homeowners should be careful not to divert water directly into the lake from gutters or drains, as sediment travels with it. Leaves, grass clippings and other debris should never be dumped in the lake. Planting a rain garden; or not mowing and fertilizing along 10 feet of the lake of the shoreline are helpful in reducing runoff into the water.
Lakefront homeowners should also attempt to deter geese and other waterfowl from their properties. One goose creates about three pounds of fecal matter daily, significantly adding to nutrients that help algea grow. Geese can be kept away with scare tactics (decoys, reflective objects) or modifying your property with tall plantings or grass at the lakefront. Geese like short grass. Homeowner can also place fencing or rope two to three feet from the water line to keep birds away. Many beaches put up fencing at the waterline at the end of the day to deter geese. And please don’t feed the birds. Overcrowding of birds defecating in one area can damage water quality, cause algae blooms, increased E coli levels, and parasitic diseases, like Swimmer’s Itch, which can be transmitted to humans.
Chemicals used to kill weeds also contaminate our lakes. Please read the labels on weed killers prior to using them on your yard and around our bodies of water! Speak to your landscaper about the chemicals they use. Are they harming fish, frogs and turtles as they beautify your property?
Finally, clean up after your pets. All animal waste contributes to coliform levels in our water. Dispose of pet waste in the garbage.