Lakes and reservoirs cover over 40 million acres of the United States. Lakes and reservoirs also play other vital and often hidden, roles. They provide drinking water and irrigation water for agricultural fields and many times a source of electricity and power generation. They also serve an important function of absorbing rainfall and runoff from land, help to prevent floods, and provide homes for precious wildlife.
Boating, fishing, and swimming are favorite recreational uses of American lakes and reservoirs. Because lake pollution is caused by so many different activities, no single regulation will suffice to prevent it.
Education and outreach aimed at changing human behavior are key components to any successful lake protection effort. We now understand that much of what happens around our lakes stays in our lakes and reservoirs.
Most streets in America are paved. Gutters and storm drains efficiently remove rain, street runoff, pollution, and debris. Some may have stenciled words over the storm drains saying it goes to the “Ocean”. This is a misnomer; the water enters a local watershed which can be a combination of creeks, rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Thirty to fifty years ago a trickle may have gotten close to the ocean. Currently, only the overflow after a large storm event goes to a local creek or river, then to the ocean, or the water with its containments seeps into the local aquifer.
What can we do to help?
• Repair broken sprinklers & stop landscape runoff to the gutter.
• Make sure no construction runoff goes into the gutter.
• Use environmentally safe pesticides & fertilizers in gardening and agriculture.
• Install permeable pavement, on sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways.
• Take vehicles to a vehicle wash, where wastewater treatment tanks are used to
remediate and divert oily/soapy water from entering storm drains.
• Clean using biodegradable cleaners.
• Pick up loose papers that fall into the gutter, after the trash truck removes trash.
• When adding a pool, install salt water system versus chlorine.
• Pick up after your dog.
• STOP FEEDING WATERFOWL!
At present, only 17.5 million acres of lakes and reservoirs of the 40 million total lake and reservoirs acres in the US have been assessed for water quality impairments. Of that 17.5 million 66% have been found to be impaired.
More lakes and reservoirs should be under management programs that treat for urban & stormwater pollution but you can make it less damaging to your local lake or reservoirs ecosystems, by stopping pollution at one of the sources, YOU.
-DeAna Vitela – Article “What Happens Around Your Lake Stays Around Your Lake”.
- National Summary Water Quality Attainment in Assessed Lakes, Reservoirs, and Ponds http://iaspub.epa.gov/waters10/attains_nation_cy.control