Lakeshore Habitat (National)
Do you have questions about water quality in the lakes, ponds and reservoirs where you live? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may be able to provide some answers with the National Lakes Assessment – a national survey conducted in 2007 on the condition of the nation’s lakes, ponds and reservoirs. Waters across the nation were tested for their water quality, biological condition, habitat condition and recreational suitability. One of the most significant findings in the first National Lakes survey issued in 2010 was that poor lakeshore habitat ranked as the biggest problem for the nation’s lakes. Over 33 percent exhibit poor shoreline habitats, which goes hand-in-hand with the health of plants and animals. Poor biological health is three times more likely in lakes with poor shoreline habitat.
Viewer Tip: Lakeshore habitat conditions are determined by examining the amounts and types of shoreline vegetation, ranging from grasses and herbaceous flowers to shrubs and trees. Planting vegetation along shorelines keeps our waters clear to swim, boat, fish and drink by filtering rain water runoff and keeping excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from reaching the water.
There are many steps you can take to protect habitat and water quality along stream banks and lakeshores.
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(Sources: EPA, “National Lakes Assessment,” http://www.epa.gov/owow/LAKES/lakessurvey/pdf/nla_report_low_res.pdf.)