What You Should Know
The Illinois EPA has great advice about caring for the lakes, which can be found here.
Don’t use fertilizer that’s contains phosphorus. If you use a lawn service, insist they only use non-phosphorus fertilizer. Be sure to only fertilizer your lawn (leave buffer zone) and not the lake. Use the minimum amount of fertilizer recommended on the label — more is not necessarily better. Fertilizer should only be used when the middle number is zero (20-0-14) no phosphorus.
Do not allow leaves or grass clippings into lake. These add nutrients which increase algae and duckweed growth.
Do not burn leaves or grass clippings near the shoreline. Nutrients concentrated in the ash and can easily wash into the lake during the first rain. Ideally, do not burn at all.
Where possible, promote infiltration of storm water into the ground. Build a rain garden to capture runoff from driveways and downspouts. Minimize runoff by directing downspouts into vegetated areas and or rain barrels, and away from the lake.
Install shore line buffer strips. Plant native trees and shrubs and establish a “no mow” zone along the shore line. These buffer strips will help to protect water quality, control erosion and filter storm water runoff.
Clean up the shoreline. Remove floating weeds, leaves and other dead plant material from the lake whenever possible.
Remove all harvested or detached weeds. If you rake, cut or harvest any lake plants, be sure to remove these from the water. Decaying plants create nutrients that will create additional plants.
Pull Eurasian Water Milfoil from the root and take out of the water. Eurasian Water Milfoil is an invasive species that reproduces through stem fragmentation. One fragment can create hundreds of new plant stems and exacerbate the problem.
Have your septic tank inspected and pumped regularly. Faulty septic system add to E.Coli in our lakes and can contaminate ground water.
- Protect your septic field from car traffic or soil compacting.
- Inspect absorption field for wet spots or sewer odors.
- Avoid using garbage disposal to limit the amounts of solids going into your tank.
- Discard grease into garbage and not a drain.
- Install lint trap on washing machine. Lint can clog drains pipes.
Do not feed birds, ducks and or geese near the lake. Waterfowl droppings are high in nutrients and may cause swimmer’s itch and increase nutrients (phosphorus) in the water.
Do not urinate or defecate in the lake or allow pets to do the same. Droppings of any kind in the water is bad for the lake.
Scoop the poop. Pet waste left in the yard, on the sidewalk or roadside washes away when it rains and is a major contributor to bacteria problems in waterways.
Do not bathe, shampoo or wash boats or other objects in the lake. Soap and other products create pollution.
Use only low phosphorus detergents. Dish washing, Laundry soap and deck washes can contain phosphates. Buy only non-phosphorus detergents.
Protect the storm drains. Many of our storm drains discharge directly into the waterways. Do not dump paint, motor oils, pesticides, cleaning products or other hazardous household materials into storm drains.
Maintain your sea wall. Sea walls prevent soil erosion. Consider re-rocking vertical walls (permits required).
Remove any carp caught when fishing. Carp are very active when feeding and can be observed in shallows stirring up sediments releasing nutrients and contributing to algal blooms.
Enforce no wake zones. Reduced boat speeds in shallow areas help keep re-suspended sediment from stirring up and reducing water clarity and quality.
Participate in The Clean Waters Boats Program. Help to reduce the possibility of invasive species entering our lakes. Remove plants, animals and mud from all equipment, drain live wells and bait buckets prior to entering the lakes. Wash the bottom of your boat thoroughly prior to launch.