Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes for good reason- our glistening lakes and rolling rivers are second to none! And Minnesotans certainly know how to get outside and appreciate these amazing natural resources. But humans aren’t the only ones who depend on our waterways for well-being. Choose to be a responsible recreationist and help keep our lakes and rivers pristine and teeming with wildlife! Here are a few ways to get started:
- Get the lead out! Did you know that lead tackle and ammunition poses a significant threat to Minnesota’s wildlife? Many animals such as loons and other waterfowl may accidentally consume pieces of fishing tackle or ammunition that has polluted the environment and will die from lead poisoning. Just one small lead sinker or jig swallowed by a loon is enough to be lethal. You can help keep poisonous lead out of the environment by ensuring your fishing tackle is lead-free! Many alternatives are now available that are non-toxic and safer for wildlife. Check out this page to read more!
- Clean In, Clean Out! Aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil now inhabit many bodies of water across the state. Unfortunately these species can cause significant disruption to the local ecosystem, often endangering wildlife and causing property damage. You can help prevent the further spread of invasive species by following these steps: Clean and dry all watercraft and equipment and remove any plants or animals before leaving any water access. Be sure to fully drain all equipment such as boats and motors. And properly dispose of unused live bait in the trash, not in a nearby body of water. And if you can, spray down your equipment well after each visit to a lake or river to ensure any small or microscopic life has been removed. Read more here!
- Reduce pesticide and fertilizer use at home! After application, a significant amount of chemicals and organic materials such as pesticides and fertilizers are washed away with rain or seep into groundwater. These eventually make their way into local lakes and rivers and can cause big changes in the ecosystem- potentially harming and killing wildlife. By reducing or eliminating your use of pesticides and fertilizers you are helping to ensure our water resources are clean and healthy and can support the abundant wildlife that we cherish.
Keeping Minnesota’s abundant water resources clean and healthy is crucial not just for human health and happiness but for the many species of wildlife that rely on our lakes and rivers. If we work together and take responsible action, we can protect our 10,000 lakes (and rivers!) for many generations to come.