April 16, 2014

Leave leaves out of lakes

PHOTO: WRN

This fall’s leaves can lead to next summers algae blooms in our lakes. Sam Weis with Madison-based Clean Wisconsin said the colorful autumn foliage can be a problem once it hits the ground – because of the phosphorous the leaves contain. “When leaves sit in piles it can rain on them, the prosperous leaches out, runs into the streets, into the storm sewers, and ends up in the lakes.”

That, in turn, leads to summertime algae blooms. Property owners can mow over the leaves, mulch them, or compost them. “Most people aren’t going to do those three things, “said Weirs. “If you are going to go the traditional route and rake them, check with the city. The closer you can do it to when they come by and pick them up, the better.” He also recommends covering the piled leaves with a tarp, or bagging them. Weis said some lakes can get as much as fifty percent of their runoff from urban lakes – so anything property owners can do can make a difference.