Help Protect Our Water

People at Lakeside

Water is one of our most important and fundamental resources. Several agencies help protect the overall function and value of water resources, but lakes, creeks, and wetlands still need our help. Remember that runoff drains into the nearest lake, creek, or wetland. Learn more about these agencies and their regulations along with some tips for things you can do on your own property to help protect our waters. Even if you do not live on a lake, pond, stream, or river, what happens on your property affects one of these water resources. That's because everyone lives in a watershed. A watershed is the land area that drains into a lake, stream or river. A watershed includes natural and artificial drainage systems, such as ditches and storm sewers. Every water body has a watershed that surrounds it and supplies it with water. Check out the links below to find out how you can help make sure that the water resources in your watershed neighborhood stay healthy.

Good Neighbor Guide to Water Friendly Practices

From turf care to yard waste disposal to smart salting, there's a lot of details to remember to help do things in a water friendly way. That's why VLAWMO and the Watershed Action Volunteers are excited to present the Good Neighbor Guide - a one-stop-shop for all your watershed questions and a seasonal checklist to help cover the bases of watershed care. With a bit of practice and keeping it an active conversation with neighbors, the guide becomes a regular routine. 

These guidelines are helpful for our local lakes, streams, wetlands, groundwater, and wildlife, but they're also a neighborly gesture to human watershed dwellers, particularly those who live downstream. Find out more on how to expand the notion of a good neighbor and save a copy for reference at the link below. 

Good Neighbor Guide (PDF)

Special thanks to Minnesota Water Stewards for leading and developing this effort. mn water stewards logo Opens in new window

Shoreline ErosionShoreline Erosion Control

Waves, wake, wind and ice can rob property owners of valuable lake shore. Retaining walls crumble, and lawns and beaches are undermined by these forces. Grass, sand or bare soil at the shoreline do little to protect the water quality of a lake. Soil from an eroding shoreline clouds the water and damages aquatic habitat. Runoff flows directly into the lake, along with fertilizers, soil, pet waste and other pollutants from surrounding properties. 

Benefits of Shoreline Buffers:

  • A buffer of native plants reduces erosion while it filters and protects the lake from runoff.
  • A buffer of carefully selected native plants will protect the shore from these eroding forces.
  • The deep roots of the plants will hold the soil in place, while emergent plants in the water break up the force of wind and waves to reduce the stress on the shoreline.
  • A well-designed buffer will also incorporate the features that owners most enjoy about their lakeside property, like docks, beaches and views.

Illicit DischargeIllicit Discharge Program

Illicit discharges are generally any discharge into a storm drain system this is not composed entirely of stormwater. The exceptions include water from firefighting activities and discharges from facilities already under an NPDES permit. Illicit discharges are a problem because, unlike wastewater which flows to a wastewater treatment plant, stormwater flows to waterways without any additional treatment. Illicit discharges often include pathogens, nutrients, surfactants, and various toxic pollutants. Our Illicit Discharge Program addresses spills and other illicit discharges to the storm drain system that are found and also works actively to prevent and eliminate illicit discharges through education, training and enforcement. If you see any illegal dumping into water bodies or wetlands please notify the Environmental Coordinator.

Rain BarrelHow You Can Help

A significant component of Lino Lakes Surface Water Protection Program involves public education and participation in keeping contaminants out of stormwater. The public is an essential partner in making our plan a success to minimize societal impacts to surface water. 

Ways you can help

  • Use proper lawn care and landscaping methods, use a mulching mower, remove grass clippings, leaves and fertilizer from impervious (hard) surfaces to prevent the materials from washing into storm sewer systems, use phosphorus-free fertilizers.
  • If you live along a water body, leave a vegetative buffer along the edge. Buffers filter nutrients and suspended solids from runoff.
  • Avoid washing your car in your driveway; wash in a grassy area or take it to a contained car wash facility to prevent soap, grease, oils, and other contaminants from entering the storm sewer system.
  • Don't litter; pick up and properly dispose of litter.
  • Pick up pet waste while on a walk and in your yard.
  • Keep the curb and gutter free of soil, leaves, and grass clippings.
  • Plant native trees, shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers. Benefits include less watering, little or no fertilizer, less runoff, and habitat for wildlife.
  • Cover exposed soils to prevent erosion and soil transport by stormwater, exposed soils have the greatest potential for wind and water erosion.
  • Stay on designated trails while using all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Going off-road can severely degrade the environment by initiating and accelerating soil erosion, wildlife habitat loss, and vegetation destruction.
  • Direct rainwater from your roof and driveway to a grassy area. Purchase a rain barrel to collect rainwater from your rooftop.
  • Do not use the storm sewers for the disposal of any materials.
  • Plant a rain garden. For more information, visit