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Help Us Help Five Island Lake

May 23, 2014
Emmetsburg News

Help us help our lake. The Five Island Lake Restoration Board is reaching out to the public to help preserve the water quality of our lake.

Stop suffocating your lake!

Healthy lawn, trees and shrubs add to the beauty and value of a home. They also keep our lakes and streams clean by allowing rainwater to filter into the soil rather than running into storm sewers. However, maintaining healthy lawns and landscape plants often requires the use of fertilizers and improper fertilizer use can cause water pollution.

Did you know?!

Phosphorus is one of the most troublesome pollutants in storm water runoff. Phosphorus comes from many sources, and it is the primary cause of water quality problems in our lakes and streams. Everything that is or was living contains phosphorus.

It all adds up!

Many fertilizers, including leaves and grass clippings, contain nitrogen and phosphorus. When these nutrients wash into the lake they cause water pollution!

These excess

- Promote unsightly and even deadly algae blooms and aquatic weed growth.

- Lower dissolved oxygen in the water, creating low water clarity.

Algae are small green plants that live in lakes and streams. Increased algae growth is observed as green algae blooms or "scums" on lakes. Too much algae is harmful to a lake system. It blocks sunlight and prevents other plants from growing. When it dies and decays, it also takes much needed oxygen away from fish. Limiting phosphorus reduces algae blooms.

You can reduce the amount of phosphorus entering a lake or stream by:

1. Keeping your leaves and lawn clippings out of the streets and gutters. Leaves and lawn clippings are a major source of phosphorus. When they are swept or washed into the nearest street or storm sewer, they end up in your local lake or stream.

2. Applying only the amount of fertilizer your lawn needs. A soil test will tell you how much if any fertilizer your lawn needs. Excess fertilizer may harm your lawn or pollute surface water. Fertilizer applied to your streets or sidewalks will get into to the nearest lake or stream. Phosphorus from fertilizers can cause algae blooms. Use only low-phosphorus or phosphorus-free fertilizers.

3. Fertilizers containing phosphorus may be used on lawns if a soil test indicates that it is needed or if you are establishing a new lawn. These restrictions do not apply to fertilizers used for agricultural crops, flower and vegetable gardening or on a golf course by trained staff. A soil test will inform you of the amount of phosphorus in your soil and the appropriate application rate.

4. Controlling soil erosion around your house. When soil is left bare, rainwater will run quickly over it. The moving water picks up soil particles. These soil particles have phosphorus attached to them. Some soils are high in phosphorus and are another source of phosphorus in storm water runoff. The soil in storm water runoff will end up in your local lake or stream and contribute to algae growth.

All lakes need protection from the pollution that robs them of oxygen and aquatic life. We can't do anything about nutrients from natural sources and the sun's warmth, but we can work to prevent excessive nutrients and sediment from human activity from getting into lakes and waterways.

For additional information, contact Emmetsburg NRCS, 712-852-3386, ext 3.



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