The principle threat to Lake Mitchell’s water quality comes from phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediments. While they are naturally occurring elements vital to maintaining living organisms in our lake, excess amounts wreak havoc on the balance of life.
Here's what you can do to deter spread of weeds in Lake Mitchell:
1. Use Phosphorus-free fertilizers -Rain, lawn sprinkling, and snow melt all will wash fertilizers and sediments from yards into the lake unless there is a substantial greenbelt along the shoreline. The soil in the Lake Mitchell watershed generally has more than adequate amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen to grow lawns. If you take a soil sample to the Michigan State Extension Office in Cadillac, they will test your soil to determine what, if any, fertilizers are needed. If you must use fertilizers select bags that are phosphorus-free and with slow release nitrogen. If the label on the package has a zero in the middle such as 12-0-20 then you know it contains no phosphorus. The Michigan legislature has passed a law banning the use of phosphorus fertilizers that will go into effect January 1, 2012.The degradation of lakes caused by phosphorus has attained national attention with several states regulating the use of fertilizers containing phosphorus. Cherry Grove and Selma Townships both have passed resolutions recommending that fertilizers on lakeshore properties be phosphorus-free. The City of Cadillac now uses only phosphorus–free chemicals on its lakefront property.
2. Create a shoreline greenbelt - A greenbelt is a band of natural vegetation growing along a lake shoreline. Greenbelts slow surface runoff before it enters the water, allowing sediments, excess nutrients, and other pollutants to settle out. Uncontrolled sedimentation will alter the habitat of crayfish, mayfly larvae, and fish as well as increase phosphorous loads in the lake. Leaving a strip of natural vegetation between your lawn and the water’s edge is one of the best things you can do to maintain our lake’s water quality.
3. Do not feed the waterfowl – It will only encourage them to reside on your lawn and leave their nutrient rich weed-growing defecation there and in the water.
4. Check to be sure you are not growing loosestrife or phragmites in your garden or on your property.
5. Keep Invasive species out of Lake Mitchell by cleaning your boat:
INSPECT your boat and your equipment and remove all weeds from your trailer propeller, anchor, and any other place found on your boat.
DRAIN all water from the boat motor, bilge, live well, and bait buckets on dry ground.
DISPOSE of leftover bait in a trash receptacle, not in the water.
RINSE your boat and all fishing equipment with hot tap water, OR thoroughly dry your boat outdoors for at least five days before traveling to a new lake or stream.
TEACH and help others to do the same.