10 ways to keep lakes clean

  • If you live on a lake, stream or wetland, plant a buffer strip of native plants along the water. If you have a lawn, keep it small and don’t use fertilizers and pesticides.
  • If you have a septic system make sure it functions properly and meets current standards. Consider an alternative wastewater treatment system, such as a composting toilet.
  • Go slow in your boat. Big wakes erode shorelines.
  • When you buy a boat motor, choose a 4-cycle, rather than 2-cycle, engine. You will lose less gasoline into the water and cause less air pollution.
  • Plant a rain garden, use a rain barrel to catch water from your roof, consider using permeable pavement in your driveway – runoff that stays on your property will not wash contaminants into streams and other surface waters.
  • Never dump wastes into a storm drain. Storm sewers run directly to rivers and lakes.
  • In the winter, use less salt on your sidewalks and driveway. Let your public officials know you support efforts to reduce the amount of road salt applied to roads and bridges. Chloride from road salt is building up in lakes and aquifers that receive runoff from highways.
  • If you fish, consider putting away your lead sinkers and jigs and switching to non-toxic tackle. Loons, trumpeter swans and some other waterfowl are susceptible to contracting lead poisoning from tackle they pick up off lake bottoms.
  • Don’t use the lake as a bathtub. Soaps and shampoos contain nutrients and pollutants that are harmful to the lake and organisms living in it.
  • Learn as much as you can about lakes and the threats they face. A good place to start is “Guide to Lake Protection and Management,” a 27-page brochure published by the Freshwater Society in cooperation with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. You can download it here.