Plant native & diverse vegetation 

Deep-rooted native plants and trees help absorb water and hold topsoil in place during rain events. As an added bonus, they will add beauty to your property and provide habitat for songbirds and butterflies. 

Create a rain garden 

Not only will rain gardens capture stormwater runoff and beautify your property, they also provide biodiversity that helps butterflies and bees survive. 

Redirect downspouts 

This simple action allows you to redirect rainwater to your lawn or garden, while also reducing the amount of stormwater that goes to streets and directly into the lakes via storm sewers. 

Pick up pet waste & litter 

This simple act helps reduce the potential of E. coli pollution from washing into our lakes and closing our beaches after rain events. If you don’t have a pet, simply pick up trash you may see on your walk to reduce pollution and make our community more beautiful for everyone! 

Reduce salt use 

Winter salt runoff into our lakes can be toxic to aquatic plants and animals. Reducing salt use does not need to compromise public safety. By shoveling snow, using sand, and limiting salt use, you can be lake friendly and safe at the same time. 

Start home composting 

Turn your food trash and yard waste into valuable, nutrient-rich compost that reduces fertilizer use and provides you with a cost-saving solution for use in your garden, planters, or rain garden. 

Install a rain barrel 

By capturing rainwater from your roof, rain barrels reduce the amount of stormwater runoff that reaches the lakes. Rain barrels also provide you with stored water that can be used on gardens and lawns. 

Plant home food gardens 

Planting a garden will provide food for you and your community. It also reduces transportation costs, provides a place for mulch and compost use, and helps infiltrate stormwater. 

Inspire a friend or neighbor 

Leading by example creates a large ripple effect! Can you inspire friends, family, and neighbors to adopt these actions at their own homes? Share what you’re doing or bring someone to a Clean Lakes Alliance event so they can learn more about helping our lakes. 

Rake for leaf-free streets 

Leaves contain phosphorus. When left in the street, stormwater passes through leaves like a teabag and brings the phosphorus with it. Raking leaves from the street edge (three feet from the curb) and onto lawns will help fertilize the grass and reduce cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) blooms in our lakes. 


Conservation Corner is a weekly article produced by the Forest County Land & Water Conservation Department. For more information contact Steve Kircher, County Conservationist-Land Information/GIS Director at 715-478-1387 or by e-mail at .