The water produced by rainfall and snow melt which does not soak into the ground becomes surface runoff, often referred to as stormwater runoff. This water travels over surfaces such as lawns, roads and sidewalks and flows either directly into our lake or into streams and rivers that feed the lake. Some runoff is collected by drainage networks that discharge directly or indirectly into the lake. As the runoff passes over roads, parking lots, roofs and other impervious surfaces it picks up and mixes with pollutants such as oil, gasoline, fertilizers, chemicals, pet waste and a host of other contaminants. These pollutants are carried by the runoff to the storm drains, ditches and streams that lead into Lake Charlevoix or are carried directly into the lake, for example, where roads are in close proximity to the shore.
There are many things that we as homeowners and businesses on or near Lake Charlevoix can do to prevent storm water runoff pollution, such as planting grass, plants or shrubs in bare soil areas, planting trees to slow down rainfall, planting a shoreline greenbelt, remediating areas where runoff erosion is occurring and installing a rain garden. For more information about storm water runoff pollution and what you can do, visit the Tip of the Mitt’s website using the following link: http://www.watershedcouncil.org/learn/stormwater-matters/.