A Guide for Buying and Managing Shoreland

A Guide for Buying and Managing Shoreland

Section 10: Best Management Practices for Achieving High Water Quality

High water quality is a valuable resource. The quality of water used for drinking, cooking, and agriculture directly affects public health, safety, and welfare. Water quality is also important for fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, transportation, and industry. The natural water system stores and cleanses water but there are limits to its effectiveness.

Water is available in surface waters, groundwater, and rain and other precipitation. It is vital to control the substances added to any of these systems in order to preserve the highest water quality.

In addition to toxic pollutants, excessive nutrients like nitrates and phosphates can degrade water quality. They are the primary cause of excessive algae and bacteria in lakes. Nutrients are introduced into the system by excessive or improper application of fertilizers in agricultural, lawn, and garden uses; faulty sewage treatment systems; and concentrated storm water runoff. There are two types of pollution sources:

Best management practices

"What can I do to improve water quality and shorelands?" The way land is managed has a large impact on the quality of water and ecology of lakes, rivers, and shorelands. The DNR has adopted management guidelines called Best Management Practices (BMPs) that help maintain and improve quality shoreland environments.

The following are basic principles that property owners can observe to help improve water quality and shorelands. More details are available in the Best Management Practices Guides that have been prepared for agriculture, forestry management, and urban areas.