LakeSmart is an education and reward program that assists lakefront homeowners manage landscapes in ways that protect water quality. The program is free, non-regulatory and voluntary. Participating homeowners receive individualized suggestions for keeping pollutants in stormwater out of lake waters. This type of contamination is the leading cause of damage to lakes.
The Maine Lakes Society partners with lake associations to deliver LakeSmart education property-by-property and shore-by-shore to create a conservation ethic across lake communities. Trained volunteers perform property assessments for participating homeowners. Sites that score well earn the coveted LakeSmart Award, consisting of two distinctive blue and white signs that can be posted at the waterfront and driveway. The signs identify the homes of good stewards and illustrate what lake-friendly living looks like.
It’s hard to believe one person’s expansive lawn or eroding camp road could be a threat to something as large and enduring as a lake. But when added to a shoreline full of similar sites, it can. All storm water that gets into a lake carries nutrients. Over time, the cumulative impact can be thousands of pounds of pollutants. The result, “death by a thousand cuts,” means algae blooms, fish kills, and the loss of water clarity and spawning habitat.
To be LakeSmart means that the homeowners have received the education and techniques, and are using natural landscaping strategies to protect their lake. LakeSmart landscaping mimics nature’s rich mosaic of plants, shrubs, winding paths, and shady trees – so it looks great, enhances privacy, and works hard to protect property values, wildlife habitat, water quality, recreational opportunities and the vitality of local economies.
If each homeowner does a little, the sum of many small actions adds up to a lot of lake protection. And being LakeSmart is the place to start!
To learn more about LakeSmart, contact your local Lake Association.
If your local Lake Association does not have a LakeSmart program, ask then to call us and initiate a program. Contact Maine Lakes Society at firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 495-2301 for more information.