The official Adopt-a-Drain Fall Leaf Cleanup Week kicks off Monday, October 11th, and runs through Sunday, October 17th.
Leaves in the street plug storm drains and pollute our waterways.
Storm drains feed directly into our local lakes and rivers, unfiltered, so it’s important to keep them clear for cleaner and healthier waterways. Fall is an especially important time to keep the leaves that are collecting on our streets and sidewalks out of our storm drains. While they might be “natural” debris they become pollution when large quantities hit the water, break down, and become food for algae.
The substances that turn our lakes and rivers green each summer come from our lawns and yards. We think of leaves as waste, but to a lake they are food. The algae in lakes love leaves and fertilizers, and when we feed lakes too many chemicals and leaves, algal blooms turn our lakes and rivers green and smelly. Protecting water is everyone’s job What can you do? Simple–remember the land/water connection! What we do to the land we do to the water. Reduce chemicals, clean your streets when the leaves fall from the trees, and when you mow the grass clean your streets and sidewalks. Keep our lakes and rivers clean.
Over 90% of global warming is in the oceans. A decades long research on 235 lakes shows that, “Lake Superior is one of the more rapidly warming lakes” The big lake is warming even faster than the oceans! My unscientific observation is that it seems like the days the wind off the lake are fewer. But that happens when warmer winds from the west and south dominate! Also part of our warming climate.
So why is it important?
1. Toxic clouds of algae can bloom. And run-off from the land makes this worse!
2. Fish populations are altered, which has been going on for a while!
3. The worst: Invasive species can find a new home!
Minnesota is home to over 10,000 lakes. We love our lakes. Unfortunately, we don’t take personal responsibility for protecting the beauty and health of our precious lakes. One of the most popular lakes is covered with trash, and it has become impossible to educate anglers (Are they listening?) of the invasive species their boats carry from lake to lake.
In late June, I was biking through southern Minnesota and was appalled to see algae and milfoil covered lakes. Sometimes they look weedy in August, but this was June?
The largest Minnesota newspaper published an opinion piece about what is happening to our lakes. The authors think the lakes of southern Minnesota are a lost cause, but they think more should be done to keep northern lakes clean. I think with tougher rules and strict enforcement all lakes can be kept healthy and usable. It is a matter of political will and setting priorities. With tougher rules and strict enforcement all lakes can be kept healthy and usable. At the bottom of this post there is a list of things I do on my lake property to protect water quality.
Unfortunately, agriculture was given a pass on the Clean Water Act and they should be better regulated. Agricultural run off is a real problem, but everyone needs to do better. This is the only water we will ever have and we should respect and value every water body.
Brian Peterson • Star Tribune If 75 percent of lakeshore remains mainly forested, the chance of maintaining lake quality is good, said Peter Jacobson of the state’s Department of Natural Resources. But when natural cover falls below 60 percent, lakes begin to deteriorate.