Looking After the Lake: 8 Tips for Lake Friendly Living in 2021

It is January—a quiet time of year when people often reflect on what they want to do in the new year to improve themselves, their homes, and their communities. How about something just outside your front door or backyard window that will positively impact all three?
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It is January—a quiet time of year when people often reflect on what they want to do in the new year to improve themselves, their homes, and their communities. How about something just outside your front door or backyard window that will positively impact all three?   

As a watershed resident, a few simple and easy lawn care and landscaping activities can enhance your home, help protect your drinking water source, and give you a good feeling of being part of a much-needed community effort to protect and preserve our lake.  

The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association Lake Friendly Living program provides you with ideas to make simple changes that you can start to plan now for implementation in the Spring and Summer.  These practices all help minimize pollutant-carrying run-off that eventually moves into Seneca Lake. Below are just a few ideas and resources.  Learn more at www.senecalake.org/lakefriendlyliving

  1. Plant seed to cover bare spots on your lawn
  2. Keep leaves and lawn clippings out of ditches, storm drains, streams, and the lake
  3. Arrange a septic inspection (Ont. County: www.ontswcd.com/septic-system-programs )
  4. Plant a tree, shrub or groundcover.  Check out your county Soil and Water Conservation Districts for economical tree and shrub seedling sales and planting help. (www.ontswcd.com & www.senecacountyswcd.org)

Note: After a rainstorm, walk your yard and look for areas of water pooling. These are key areas to consider for plantings to minimize run-off.

  1. Consider landscaping projects that convert less permeable surfaces such as gravel and rock into more permeable, aesthetic areas with low maintenance shrubbery and plants.  

Share your project stories with us! We would like to showcase the activities of watershed residents to help others learn and take action around their homes that can positively impact Seneca Lake. Please tag us with projects you share on social media @senecalakepurewaters on Instagram and @SLPWA on Facebook, or email them to mtoole325@gmail.com.

Want to act now? Remove snow and ice the lake friendly way!

Did you know that Seneca Lake has the highest salinity levels of all the Finger Lakes? 

Salt mines in Watkins Glen and Seneca Lake tributaries (streams) are major contributors to the lake’s salinity.  It’s important that every household plays a part in protecting water quality by minimizing or eliminating the use of salt to melt snow and ice.

Alternate solutions include:

  1. Shoveling snow soon after snow falls. 

This will avoid compaction and therefore slick surfaces.  Sunshine the following days will allow for snow to melt more rapidly if there are not multiple inches of snow on hard surfaces.

  1. Use alternate melting/traction methods.

Materials such as cat litter, sand, sawdust, and Magic Salt are all proven methods to eliminate the use of salt to deal with snow and ice.  Try one of these readily available items!

  1. Limit spaces that need snow removal.

Reduce the need to use salt by minimizing extra walkways and driveway space that lead to rarely used entryways.  Don’t worry, they’ll still be there in the Spring! 

This piece was produced by the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, a nonprofit that for more than 20 years has been creating new partnerships and launching new programs to promote and protect Seneca Lake’s water quality for the health and safety of those who live in the watershed. This article was shared with us as part of our community outreach to include a multitude of voices and views about the Finger Lakes foodshed.

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