Adopt Best Practices

Thoughtful owners of lakeside homes can follow a few simplebest management practices for protecting Lake Leelanau and its surrounding watershed.

Shorelines

Best Practices Lake Leelanau

Shorelines are critical transition areas from land to water.  A natural shoreline protects the lake and provides habitat for fish and wildlife.

  • Maintain a greenbelt – a 20–35-foot natural buffer along 70% of your shoreline to help provide filtration to trap pollutants, prevent overgrowth of noxious aquatic plants and algae, reduce erosion and discourage geese
  • Use native plants – flowers, shrubs and grasses – to stabilize shorelines which provides habitat for wildlife and prevent erosion.  These plantings can be beautiful and do not have to look messy or unkept.
  • Plant native trees for habitat and to help offset storm damage and replace dying or diseased ash, birch, beech and oaks.
  • Allow rain water to soak in and not run into the lake.
  • Use a mulching mower.  Place composting leaves and yard trimmings at least 50 feet from surface water.  Excess leaves in the lakes and creeks degrades water quality.
  • Call an expert if you have shoreline erosion.  They may be able to help stabilize the shoreline without the use of rip rap or seawalls which prevent animals from coming ashore.  See the Resources tab.

Minimize Pollution

  • Irrigate with lake water if you have a well.  It provides nutrients and preserves ground water.
  • Use eco-friendly pesticides and fertilizers, and only use if indicated by a soil test or professional consultant; eliminate all use of fertilizers within 100 feet of the water’s edge.  
  • Properly store pesticides, fertilizers and fuels.  Take part in hazardous waste collections for these and other items like paints and medical waste.
  • Inspect your boat, mower and vehicles for fuel and oil leaks.
  • Don’t use shampoos or soap in the lake.

Stop invasive species

  • CLEAN, DRAIN, DRY AND DISPOSE are key watchwords to consider to keep invasive plants and animals from entering lakes and creeks
    • Clean: Boats, trailers and equipment
    • Drain: Live wells, bilges of all water
    • Dry: Boats and all equipment
    • Dispose: Unwanted bait in the trash
  • Dispose of bait, plants, aquatic animals and fish from aquariums and ponds in the garbage….never in the lake.

Maintain your septic system

  • Have your system inpected to make sure it is working properly and have it pumped periodically (every 3-5 years).
  • Avoid using bleach and commercial products that claim to maintain the tank and septic system
  • Avoid the use of a garbage disposal