The challenges of keeping Wisconsin’s lake clean just keep growing along with shoreline development. A lakeshore lawn of Kentucky bluegrass just isn’t natural – or a good idea. Bret Shaw works on keeping the lakes clean as an Environmental Communication Specialist with UW Extension. Shaw says the more people loving the lakes, the bigger the challenge. “Since the sixties, the amount of development around lakes, in particular in the north but all over the state, has had a huge impact on the lake ecology,” he says. “We need people to be thinking more about, and adopting, those behaviors that keep the lakes that they love healthy.”
AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (:60)
Shaw says Wisconsin Lakes Trivia grew out of ongoing efforts to encourage lakeshore property owners to keep their shorelines as natural as possible. “Natural shorelines are important. If you get a lot of weed-whacking and very manicured lawns, then you’re more likely to get more runoff into the water, and you also don’t get as much wildlife.”
“We thought this might be something fun that families could do together,” he says. “At the same time, it’s something that we think will last. It’s not something that’s going to be used once and then thrown away.” Wisconsin Lakes Trivia includes 102 question-and-answer cards, with four questions per card. Shaw says some of the questions are easy, others more difficult. The game is available at the UW Extension Learning Store.
Generally speaking, Shaw says that means the less done to alter a property’s natural shoreline, the better. “People can still have space for a small beach, or a corridor to walk through from their house, but the more natural vegetation that is left alone, the better it’s going to be for water quality, as well as to protect wildlife habitat,” he says. “It’s a big behavior change.”