Conservation Corner > Spring into Action
Spring into Action
Mar 21, 2010 --

Spring Into Action

With Spring coming in just a short few weeks its time to Spring Into Action. Its that time of year when you need to do your part in keeping the lakes and near by wetlands healthy. Winter brings out people to ice fish and the things in your yard that you were going to throw away got covered up by snow. Even though your house might not be right on the lake on a wetland your home will leave an imprint. Debris left in your yard or by the lake has the potential to cause a serious impact on the water quality. Nutrients, sediment, animal waste and other chemicals spilled can directly enter the waters of the lake or wetland by way of snow melt and spring rains. Ice fisherman have probably left litter on the ice that needs to be picked up.

 

The problem with all of this stuff entering the lakes and wetlands is that it sticks around for a while and causes problems for the lake. Just because the snow melted and things turned green did not make any problem go away. The pollutants that enter the lake may take years to be flushed out and with that in mind, the things that entered the lake last year are probably still there, we do not want to add more. From the time nutrients enter the water or a wet land and are flushed basically down stream it is called " residence time". As an example Coon Lake has a "residence time" of 2.5 to 3.7 years. This retention time is especially important where pollutants and nutrients entering the water are concerned. Now you can see how important it is to keep things out, because they do have high probability of accumulating and causing even more damage. The type of things we are trying to keep out of the water are actually the hardest to flush out of the lake….they stick around causing problems like feeding algae and making things scummy. So even positive changes that happen may take years to show the benefits of your hard work.

 

Since 95% of the worlds water is in the oceans we depend on the water cycle of the earth to bring us the precipitation needed in our area. Lakes and wetlands in the area of Coon Lake depend on rain water to maintain levels and use it for the flushing of the lake. Ground water tables do vary with water usage and affect the level of the lake. Water conservation is a big a part of the overall health of the lake as pollutants and nutrients entering it.

 

The "Cultural Eutrophication" of a lake is primarily due to phosphorus, due to excessive use on land. Both ground water and runoff play a role in transporting these nutrients into a body of water. Runoff is responsible for almost all of the transport of sediment and phosphorus from land to lake. So what is " Cultural Eutrophication" ? It is the human activity that due to clearing of land and the building of towns and paving the ground that accelerates water runoff and the nutrients that it carries into a body of water. It is a form of water pollution.

 

The effects of not Springing Into Action can lead to a change in the natural food ecosystem, the excessive algae growth causes lack of oxygen for any life in the water to breath with. The problem only gets worse from there, as plants and other life die the algae can grow causing competition for sunlight, space and oxygen for native plants weather they are submerged, half submerged or floating.

Other aquatic life is also challenged in the same way, competing for light, oxygen and clean water.

 

Some things you can do now and into summer is to ensure that all animal waste is picked up and disposed of. Garbage or debris that was blown around the neighborhood all winter and covered up by snow should be picked up before things green up. Down by the lake or your wetland also take notice of things that appeared out of nowhere and clean up before the foliage covers it up. Look out on the lake and remove any debris that you can. Maybe it will snow late in the season…careful with that snow melt, all the stuff you put down this last December and January is out there somewhere.

Do not fertilize your lawn, especially down by the lake. The list could go on and on. As you prepare for Spring and Summer "Pick it up" "Spring Into Action". Do your part to help keep the community you live in healthy and clean.

 

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