Why We Need Lake Stewards

Lake Leelanau Lake Stewards Program

The purpose of the Lake Stewards Program is to protect Lake Leelanau and its watershed by encouraging residents and visitors to engage in in best practices.

The Lake Stewards Program is the result of a growing realization that while some homeowners or businesses may engage in activities which result in harm to our lake and the surrounding watershed, many do so without either understanding the consequences of their actions or how they can easily be avoided.

Central to the protection of water quality is avoiding the use of unnecessary pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, management of yard waste, management of storm water runoff and groundwater contamination, all of which can enter the lake and affect the water where we swim, boat and play. 

Left to itself, nature creates green buffer zones around lakes to help filter water flowing into the lake from the watershed. These natural barriers protect shorelines from erosion. However, over the years, many of these natural buffer zones have been lost to lawns and landscaping.  Impervious surfaces such as structures, driveways and patios can cause further harm. The Lake Stewards Program aims to promote proper approaches to landscaping, yard design and maintenance among homeowners and businesses alike. 

Stressors

Despite success in protecting the overall water quality, the Lake Leelanau watershed faces considerable stressors.   Environmental and human impacts can easily disrupt the natural balance.  Excess nutrients and sediment, lakeshore development, pressure from increasing numbers of year-round residents, more visitors and more severe storms from changing climate can negatively affect the water quality.

We are happy to report that our tests, overall, show that the quality of our water is at a high level, has remained relatively stable, and compares favorably to neighboring lakes.  But with increasing stressors, we must be diligent about implementing best practices.

Want to Discuss the Program with Someone?

Call or email our Shoreline Steward Ambassador Nancy Popa at 231-944-9509 or nanook551@gmail.com