Lake Steward Program

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A nonprofit fundraiser supporting

Minnesota Lakes & Rivers
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Incentivize lakeshore property owners to manage their shoreline in ways that promote lake health


raised by 4 people

$20,000 goal

What we do on land impacts water. Phosphorus runoff, soil erosion, and loss of wildlife habitat are all urgent with over 50% of MN's shoreline damaged - but luckily these are issues over which we have control. 

The Lake Steward Program is designed to give agency, knowledge, and support to individuals who want to take action to protect the valuable resource of water. The program also gives recognition to those already taking steps to manage their shoreline in sustainable ways that support lake health. These include planting a buffer zone of native plants along the shoreline, limiting the use of pesticides and fertilizers, and maintaining a properly functioning septic tank. 

The program works like this:

1. Lake associations, SWCD's, county resource offices and others promote a short and fun "Are You A Lake Steward?" online quiz 

2. The quiz connects interested property owners to a designated volunteer evaluator from their lake association

3. The property owner and volunteer evaluator will coordinate a time for a site visit

4. The evaluator will conduct a site visit (15-20 minute walk of the property) using a comprehensive app to easily calibrate a score for the property based on standards outlined by the DNR. Those that meet Lake Steward criteria will catch and filter up to 90% of the pollution that can flow from the land into the lake.

5. If proper management practices are in place, the property owner will be awarded the Lake Steward sign to display on their property. Signs include the lake association logo to connect the organization with the results of their mission, a useful branding tool. If the criteria are not met, the property owner is given guidance and resources to help them accomplish their goals.

The program has many values; First, Lake Steward incentivizes sustainable practices. Second, Lake Steward demonstrates that individuals and their choices matter and can make an impact. Finally, Lake Steward connects neighbors and lake associations, thereby building a strong and connected base upon which to build powerful environmental advocacy and change.

We are asking for your help in funding educational materials, a full time MLR staff member dedicated to running this program, Lake Steward signs, and grant opportunities for people looking to restore their shore. 

Thank you for your donation toward the protection of Minnesota’s lakes!  

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