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10 Ways to Protect Paw Paw Lake
  1. Don’t use lawn fertilizer that contains phosphorus—it's the law!

  2. Use the minimum amount of fertilizer recommended on the label — more is not necessarily better!

  3. Water the lawn sparingly to avoid washing nutrients and sediments into the lake.

  4. Don’t feed ducks and geese near the lake. Waterfowl droppings are high in nutrients and may cause swimmer’s itch.

  5. Don’t burn leaves and grass clippings near the shoreline.  Nutrients concentrate in the ash and can easily wash into the lake.

  6. Don’t mow to the water’s edge. Instead, allow a strip of natural vegetation (i.e., a greenbelt) to become established along your waterfront. A greenbelt will trap pollutants and discourage nuisance geese from frequenting your property.

  7. Where possible, promote infiltration of stormwater into the ground. Build a rain garden to capture runoff from driveways and downspouts.

  8. Don’t dump anything in area wetlands. Wetlands are natural purifiers.

  9. If you have a septic system, have your septic tank pumped every 2 to 3 years.

  10. Don’t be complacent — your collective actions will make or break the lake!

Click here or on the image above to get your own copy of The Water's Edge: Helping Fish and Wildlife on Your Lakeshore Property. The 12-page booklet is loaded with information on how to protect your lake.

Click here or on the adjacent image to download a copy of the Shoreline Living booklet.

A lake watershed is the land area that drains to a lake. The Paw Paw Lake watershed is over 9,200 acres, a land area over ten times larger than the lake itself. The Paw Paw Lake watershed contains numerous drains, many of which are designated county drains regulated under Michigan’s Drain Code (Public Act 40 of 1956). About half of the watershed is drained by the Branch and Derby Drain which discharges into the north basin of the lake.

Watershed Sub-Basin Map (Data Source: Spicer Group)

Predominant land uses in the watershed include agriculture, undeveloped forest lands and wetlands, and residential development. Most of the residential development occurs near the lake.

Land use activities in the watershed have a direct impact on lake water quality. Runoff from agricultural lands and the developed shorelands around the lake both have the potential to impair water quality. To address this potential, several watershed projects are being planned to minimize the runoff of nutrient and sediment pollutants into Paw Paw Lake from both sources.

For an overview of watershed projects, click here.

Click here to see what you can do to help protect Paw Paw Lake.

Caring for Your Shoreland

The take-home message here is straightforward: Maintain or restore as much natural shoreland as possible. That is not to say that you can’t—or shouldn’t—have an area to swim, moor boats, fish or lounge by the shore. However, manicured lawn to the water’s edge and boundless seawalls are not conducive to a healthy lake. Natural shorelines are easier to maintain and provide many ecological benefits.

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