TAVARES — Tangible results from the new Adopt-a-Lake Program are starting to pour in as the Lake County Department of Environmental Utilities and volunteers are working on two water-quality improvement projects: one on Lake Winona in Clermont and the other on Silver Lake in Leesburg.
“These projects were designed to help reduce the impacts of residential stormwater on the lakes,” said Cathie McGwier Supervisor of the Lake County Water Resource Management Lab & Adopt-a-Lake Program Coordinator. “We hope to show that by making a few minor modifications, residents can improve the water quality of their lakes by reducing the nutrient loading.”
Both projects consist of water-quality monitoring, re-vegetation and community education meetings. At least biweekly samples are being collected from five different locations near stormwater outfalls on each lake and analyzed for nutrients to obtain background levels. The data from both projects will be reviewed and reports will be issued during and upon completion of the project. Project durations are expected to last for six months to several years depending on the findings. Results will be released on the Lake County Water Resources Atlas and the Lake County Adopt-a-Lake Web site.
Homeowners were invited to a community meeting about the Lake Winona project on Sept. 4.
“Residents were informed about shoreline best management practices and how just a few small changes could have a big impact on the water quality of their lake,” McGwier said. “Some of these changes include not blowing yard waste into the street, limiting the amount of fertilizer used and picking up pet waste.”
The benefits of shoreline aquatic vegetation were explained to residents as well. Shoreline vegetation acts as a filter and aids nutrient removal. Residents were provided information about how they can remove invasive vegetation (with the proper permit) and were given the opportunity to apply for a permit at the meeting. At this time, nine homeowners have applied for permits to restore the native vegetation on the lake. Residents and volunteers from the community will assist with the planting of the native vegetation.
A community meeting will be held for the Silver Lake project at the Magnolia Room of Lake-Sumter Community College, located at 9501 U.S. Highway 441 in Leesburg, on Monday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. The meeting will be similar to the Lake Winona meeting as project details will be discussed and participants will be provided educational materials.
For more information about Lake County Adopt-a-Lake Program, call Cathie McGwier at (352) 253-1659 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.