Healthy Lakes includes 5 simple and inexpensive best practices that improve habitat and water quality on your lakeshore property.
We encourage do-it-yourselfers to use these practices but have also created a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Healthy Lakes grant for funding assistance. A requirement of grant-funded projects is a signed contract stating the lakeshore property owner will maintain the project for at least 10-years.
Healthy Lakes projects, and the diversion and rock infiltration practices in particular, are not intended for heavily developed parcels, sites with large volumes of runoff, or sites with complex problems that may require engineering design. Technical assistance and funding are still available for these sites; contact your county land and water conservation department or local DNR lakes biologist for more information.
What is a
A Best Practice is a proven method to produce desired results. In the case of Healthy Lakes, our team surveyed citizen, business, and agency partners to identify the top 5 best practices to improve habitat and water quality for typical lakeshore properties
What is a
Typical Lakeshore Property?
Typical lakeshore property is relatively flat, doesn’t drain a large area, and has some natural area. Healthy Lakes Best Practices probably aren’t a good fit if your property is on slopes greater than 20%, drains more than 2 acres, has substantial visible erosion, or is mostly cleared and covered with hard surfaces like rooftops, driveways, and roads.
Create fish and wildlife habitat.
350 ft2 Native Plantings
Improve wildlife habitat, natural beauty, and privacy, and decrease runoff.
Native Plantings include grasses and wildflowers with shrubs and trees. Choose a template based on your property and interests – from bird/butterfly habitat to a low-growing garden showcasing your lake view.
Prevent runoff from getting into your lake.
Diversion Practices move water to areas where it can soak into the ground instead. Depending on your property, multiple diversions may be necessary.
Capture and clean runoff.
Rock Infiltration practices fit in nicely along roof drip lines and driveways and provide space for runoff to filter itself. They work best if your soil is sandy or loamy.
Create wildlife habitat and natural beauty while capturing and cleaning runoff.
Rain gardens multi-task – they improve habitat and filter runoff while providing a naturally beautiful view.
Learn about other projects and simple actions you can take to protect your lake.
Science of Healthy Lakes
The science of lake management has advanced significantly over the last few decades. We better understand natural science – how lakes function and the importance of shorelands to lake health, as well as the social science – how people and their attitudes and behaviors affect lakes.