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Our Lakes & Rivers


Properties that are directly connected to open water sources have greater potential to protect or harm the quality of the water. Overdevelopment or broad land use conversion near water sources results in lower water quality. Storm water collects contaminants from buildings, and fertilized yard space. Impervious surfaces like the roof of a building or paved driveway/walkways, expedite the flow of storm water runoff. The contaminants, and additional nutrients/phosphorus that stormwater carries is harmful when it enters waterways.



Phosphorus is a nutrient found in manure, leaves, soil, and fertilizer. Under natural conditions lake water contains only in small amounts of phosphorus.


Algae Blooms

Over development and land misuse has resulted in excessive phosphorus loading into our lakes. Phosphorus triggers harmful algae blooms.

Slow The Flow

Slowing and absorbing stormwater runoff is critical to protecting water quality.


Rain barrels are fantastic for capturing runoff from rooflines under a downspout.


Broken walkway and driveway surfaces like stone or pebble allow water to better soak into the ground. 


The deep roots of trees and native plants act as a sponge, soaking up storm water runoff. 


Possibly most effective ( and beautiful) are rain gardens with native flowers and plants. Strategically placed rain gardens do a fantastic job of soaking up excess water.

Native Plants Protect Water Quality

The deep root systems of native trees, flowers and and grasses act as a sponge, soaking up and filtering stormwater runoff. Strategically placed rain gardens and shoreline buffers are helpful for soaking up excess stormwater runoff which carries harmful levels of sediment and phosphorus into the lake or river.


Natural shoreline buffers can be as simple as leaving a
section of no-mow grasses or planting native flowers along the lakeshore. In cases where shoreline damage has already occurred, newer practices like the addition of Coir Logs can be used to restore the stability of a shoreline.

These buffers not only protect your property from erosion
and wave action, but also provide a clean natural habitat for fish, birds, and animals. Native shorelines are essential for the natural cycles that support our clean waters and our legendary Minnesota fisheries.


Our Shoreland Services


Aquatic Invasive Species

What About AIS?

AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) are plants, fish, invertebrates, and other creatures that are non-native to our lakes and rivers. Invasive species cause issues when they outcompete native animals and overwhelm their environment, with economic, environmental, and social ramifications. Each summer, Aitkin County hires AIS Watercraft Inspectors to check boats, docks, and other recreational watercraft for signs of invasive species. Aitkin County also has 4 decontamination units (decon units), which use hot water to clean and remove any invasive species that may be present on watercraft.

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