Elements for Sustainable Lakes

A sustainable lake is one that will require less effort to maintain itself over time. Additionally, it will continue to provide the same ecosystem services for future generations. Such services include but are not limited to recreational capabilities, aesthetic attributes, property values, and ecosystem health. A healthy lake is a sustainable lake.

It can be argued that the majority of our lakes should have never been developed on; yet, we continue to demand resources from them. If we are to restore these fragile systems, we must be accountable and learn to protect them. There are many aspects of protection that include the following characteristics:

1.) Lake sediments are generated from within the lake from decaying vegetation or from the external watershed. Watershed management is critical to reducing these inputs.

2.) The quality of the lake water is dependent upon the land use activities immediately surrounding the lake and from activities in the surrounding immediate watershed.

3.) The health of the lake biota (such as vegetation, plankton, fish, etc..) is dependent upon the health of the lake sediments and water.

4.) Most importantly, the health of the lake is critically dependent upon the actions of humankind. In general, we dictate the fate of all developed lakes. Thus, the societal component cannot be left out of the system approach.