The strength of the OPA lies with you. Get involved and stay aware of the issues as they arise for the lakes.
Help the Lakes
Lawn and Garden:
Consider building a rain garden or bioswale or using permeable pavers on your property to treat storm water before it enters the lake. Contact Derek Namanny, Urban Conservationist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, for “how to” information and possible cost share programs: email; or call 712-336-3782, Ext.3.
Use zero-phosphorus fertilizer, unless a soil test shows a need for phosphorus. Look for a zero for the middle number on the bag. Contact the ISU Extension Service at 712-336-3488 for soil testing information.
Follow proper application procedures and use only the amount recommended on the bag. Extra fertilizer can wash off and pollute the lakes.
Keep fertilizer off pavements, where it can be washed into the storm sewer.
Keep lawn clippings off streets and lakes by aiming the discharge chute on your mower toward the interior of your lawn.
Do not fertilize on frozen ground or before a heavy rain, when fertilizer will be washed off.
Don’t bag your lawn clippings. Research shows that leaving them on your lawn is equal to one fertilizer treatment per year.
Leave your grass at 2-2.5 inches tall. It will withstand heat, need less water and discourage weed growth.
Quickly seed or sod new construction sites to prevent soils and pollutants from being washed into streets and lakes.
Use organic fertilizer or compost on your lawn – organic fertilizer releases nutrients more slowly, keeping them in the soil instead of running off into the lakes.
Leave a 5-10 foot buffer of taller grass or native plants along the lakefront to help slow run-off and stabilize the shoreline.
Spot-treat your lawn for pests and weeds to save money and prevent run-off.
Pick up pet waste.
Properly dispose of car oil, paints, and pesticides. Never dump motor oil, paints, solvents, or other pollutants into the street, gutter, lake or on your lawn.
Use phosphorus-free soaps when washing your car, which will help reduce the amount of phosphorus entering the storm sewer from your driveway.