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Education, clean-up, and local organizations: How we can help protect Lakeland’s 38 lakes

Teach yourself the basics, join a local cleanup crew, and involve the next generation using some of these tools.

outside landscape of lake hunter

Earth Day is a good reminder that protecting + preserving our lakes is every citizen’s responsibility.

Photo via @bursecurse

DYK Lakeland encompasses ~45,000 acres containing 38 named lakes (with some interesting backstories) and numerous smaller lakes, ranging in size from 2.5-2,272 acres. Each lake plays an important role in irrigation, flood control, drinking water supply, recreation, navigation + plant and wildlife habitats.

Naturally, a city named after its lakes would have an official department for lake preservation, right? Enter: The Lakes Program, which was added to the City of Lakeland’s Public Works Department in 1987.

Because of the relationship between stormwater + lake conservation, the Stormwater and Lakes Management Programs were merged in 1999, with a shared mission to improve the quality of all City lakes + water resources.

We play an important role, too. Earth Day (coming up on April 22) is a good reminder that protecting + preserving the beauty of Lakeland’s namesake is every citizen’s responsibility. 🌎

Here are five ways you can keep our lakes healthy:

Don’t use single-use plastics

  • DYK? Humans produce ~300 million tons of plastic every year — 50% of which is for single-use purposes. Plastic water bottles, plastic bags + plastic straws end up in our stormwater drainage system and into our lakes. (You’ve seen the turtle video — that can happen here, too.)
  • Here are 4 easy swaps to cut down on single-use plastic waste.

Understand how stormwater pollution affects our lakes.

  • When it rains, water flows to streams + lakes, becoming stormwater runoff.
  • Pollutants picked up by stormwater are discharged, untreated, into our lakes + streams – we need to minimize these.

Fertilize with care.

  • When fertilizer is washed down storm drains and into lakes, its excess nutrients reduce the amount of oxygen in the water, killing fish + aquatic plants.
  • If you’re going to fertilize your lawn, make sure to get your soil tested, apply the correct amount of fertilizer + water it immediately.

Keep Lakeland clean.

  • Garbage on the ground becomes garbage in our lakes + streams, which can choke or suffocate aquatic life such as ducks, fish, turtles and birds – even swans.
  • If you’re out for a walk and you see a piece of trash, pick it up (carefully) + throw it away.

Get the kids involved.

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