Water Quality and Improvement Projects

Improvements Committee Chair – Al Johnson

     We have been emphasizing the importance of water quality for as long as this newsletter has been published. Now, we are not alone. Each year, the Minnesota State Master Gardeners’ select a main theme and this year they are focusing on water quality and Governor Mark Dayton has been focused on this topic as well. Additionally, the Smithsonian Institute is currently highlighting the importance of water quality through a ‘Water/Ways’ national exhibit that is touring five states, including Minnesota. The exhibit will be hosted in six Minnesota counties including in Pine County at the Audubon Center of the North Woods near Sandstone. The exhibit will be on display there from November 19 to December 31. Obviously, I haven’t seen the exhibit, but I have to believe that if it was created by the Smithsonian Institute, it has to be a great display. Please go to the Audubon website at www.audubon-center.org to find the hours of operation or call 888-404-7743 or 320-245-2648. This is once in a lifetime opportunity, so don’t let it slip by without seeing it.

     There are a few late fall tasks that we can all do to reduce negative effects on water quality. First and foremost, clean out your fire pits. The ashes are very caustic and can disturb the natural balance of the lake’s water quality. Also, collect leaves and keep them from going into the lake as much as possible. If possible, compost the leaves instead of burning them. Burning leaves puts carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, as opposed to composted leaves, which hold the carbon and reduce the effects of global warming. I think our fall weather shows that global warming is real, so anything we do can now will help future generations.