5 ways to protect Lakeland’s 38 lakes

outside landscape of lake hunter
Earth Day (coming up on April 22) is a good reminder that protecting + preserving our lakes is every citizen’s responsibility | Photo via @bursecurse

Table of Contents

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 5 ways you can keep our lakes healthy: 

  1. 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. 
  1. 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.
  1. 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
  1. 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.
  1. Get the kids involved 👩‍👧‍👦