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Lakes are the centerpiece of
the north woods




Lakes drive much of our economy in the north. We not only have some of the cleanest lakes in the state, but in the entire country! Our lakes and rivers are also the source of clean drinking water for many larger cities downstream.


Unfortunately, many of our waters are in danger to a host of threats. More and more
of the natural lakeshore habitat is being replaced with fertilized lawns, larger buildings, and paved surfaces. These hard or “impervious surfaces ” increase the rate of runoff. Our lakes are becoming inundated with stormwater runoff filled with excess sediment, contaminants, and heavy loads of nitrates that cause changes to water quality and throw off the lake’s natural balance.

Photo by Caleb Franzen


Phosphorus is a nutrient found in manure, leaves, soil, and fertilizer. Under natural conditions lake water contains only in small amounts of phosphorus.

Algae Blooms

Over development and land misuse has resulted in excessive phosphorus loading into our lakes. Phosphorus triggers harmful algae blooms.

Native Plants Protect Water Quality

The deep root systems of native trees, flowers and and grasses act as a sponge, soaking up and filtering stormwater runoff. Strategically placed rain gardens and shoreline buffers are helpful for soaking up excess stormwater runoff which carries harmful levels of sediment and phosphorus into the lake or river.


Natural shoreline buffers can be as simple as leaving a
section of no-mow grasses or planting native flowers along the lakeshore. In cases where shoreline damage has already occurred, newer practices like the addition of Coir Logs can be used to restore the stability of a shoreline.

These buffers not only protect your property from erosion
and wave action, but also provide a clean natural habitat for fish, birds, and animals. Native shorelines are essential for the natural cycles that support our clean waters and our legendary Minnesota fisheries.


We've got a good thing going for us in the lakes area. Or lakes provide hours of recreation and relaxation. Generations of family memories have been built at the lake. Furthermore, a large part of our economy depends on the health of our lakes. It is in our own best interest to do our best to take care of these valuable assets.

Feel free to contact us for more information about conservation practices or projects lakeshore landowners can be involved in to protect our lakes and rivers.

50% to 75% Cost Sharing for environmental projects: FCFS, limited funding available for Shoreline Restorations, Rain Gardens, Erosion Control. Project does not have to be on a lake or river. Call Crow Wing SWCD at

218-828-6197 or fill out site visit request online.

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