Tips everyone can use to help reduce pollution and keep our waters healthy and clean.
In Your Community | On Your Lake or River | On Your Farm | In Your Yard
Tips For Fertilizing | In Your House
In Your Community
- Get active in the issues that interest you, whether it’s land use, water quality, recycling, or invasive species.
- Join or organize cleanups for your neighborhood, local parks, and state parks.
- Attend workshops and awareness days to learn more about your watershed.
- Encourage your neighborhood association to include native vegetation rules in its bylaws.
- Call for help when you need it. There are many resources available to answer your questions and provide assistance.
On Your Lake or River
- Inspect your boat and trailer for invasive plants and animals.
- Do not transfer bait from one lake to another.
- Dispose of trash properly—don’t dump anything overboard.
- Do not dump bundles of wood into the lake. It does not create good fish habitat; in fact, it provides anchor points for invasive mussels and weeds!
- Remove trash and human waste from the lake before the ice melts.
- Dispose of cigarette and cigar butts properly.
- Respect no-wake zones and noise restrictions.
- Do not disturb or aggravate wildlife.
- Plant a greenbelt of native plants on your shore- line to prevent erosion and runoff.
- Reduce the size of your lawn area to conserve water and reduce chemicals.
- Set your lawn mower at a higher level—your grass will be greener and will need less water.
- Do not feed ducks and geese (they carry swimmer’s itch) but do feed and provide nesting habitat for songbirds and other species.
On Your Farm
- Restrict cattle access to lakes and streams. Provide them with a different water source (NRCS has programs to help with funding).
- Do not over-apply pesticides and fertilizers.
- Maintain a buffer strip of vegetation between crops and water bodies.
- Dispose of animal waste properly, away from water sources.
In Your Yard
- Maintain native trees and vegetation.
- Maintain existing wetlands (do not fill them in).
- Minimize the area of paved surfaces like drive- ways, sidewalks, and patios.
- Get your soil tested by MSU Extension to see if you need fertilizer.
- If you need it, use only phosphorus-free fertilizer.
- Water your lawn less often.
- Don’t dump grass clippings in the lake or on the beach. Instead, use them to mulch your plants or dispose of them on yard waste pickup days.
- Landscape with native plants, which need less maintenance and help prevent erosion and absorb pollution.
- Divert rain gutters to unpaved areas on your property where water can soak into the ground.
Tips For Fertilizing
- TRY NOT FERTILIZING: Your lawn may have enough nitrogen already. Stop fertilizing and see how it goes! BUT IF YOU MUST FERTILIZE...
- Use a fertilizer with a LOW FIRST NUMBER, preferably less than 10, and that contains a MINIMUM OF 50% SLOW RELEASE NITROGEN
- Fertilize only once in the spring and once in the fall.
- Get your soil tested.
- Go Native. Native plantings require no commercial fertilization after establishment because they are naturally adapted to our soil and climate.
- Leave grass clippings on your lawn.
- Plant clover or low nitrogen grasses.
- Replace loose Stone Yards with Non-Fertilized Native Plants by Xeriscaping. Visit http://www.pineridgegardens.com/xeriscape.htm for more great information.
- Do not fertilize when rain is expected in the next 24 hours.
- Use a broom to remove fertilizer spilled onto driveways and sidewalks.
- Never fertilize within 10 feet of streams, creeks, or the Bay.
- Never allow grass clippings to go down storm drain catch basins.
- Let the grass grow to a height of 3”.
- Use a Hand-Powered Rotary Mower.
In Your House
- Avoid or minimize the use of pesticides whenever possible.
- Carefully use household hazardous materials such as drain cleaner, paints, varnish, and motor oil. Don't dispose of these substances down the drain. Save these types of waste for a household hazardous waste collection.
- Use environmentally friendly detergents and cleaning products, and use all chemicals sparingly.
- Unplug electrical devices when they’re not being used.
- Have your septic system inspected every 1 to 3 years and pumped as recommended by the inspector.
- Recycle—contact your local County Conservation Districts for locations.
- Fix leaks and use low-flow faucets.
- Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and shave, and use your washing machine and dishwasher only when they’re full.
Description of Native, Non-Native, & Invasive Species
Sources: Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council & Huron Pines
This page last updated on 1/13/2015.