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To find out what you can do to help protect Spring Lake, click here.


The shorelands around Spring Lake have changed dramatically over the years. A recent study found that areas with greater than 20% impervious cover have increased from about 7% in 1978 to greater than 26% in 2006 (Steinman et al. 2015). The greatest increase in the amount of impervious cover was immediately adjacent to Spring Lake. This increase in imperviousness has substantially increased stormwater runoff and the transport of phosphorus and other pollutants to the lake, leaving Spring Lake extremely vulnerable to water quality impairments. To review the stormwater study, click here.

Rein in the Runoff

Researchers at AWRI received funding from Michigan Sea Grant to identify the causes, consequences, and corrective actions required to minimize the adverse impacts of stormwater discharges to the water bodies located within and around the Village of Spring Lake and Spring Lake Township, including Spring Lake, the Grand River, and, ultimately, Lake Michigan. Follow this link to find out more information about Spring Lake's watershed. 

What is a Watershed?

The Importance of a Natural Shoreline

It has long been recognized that logs, sticks, and other woody structure in rivers provide habitat for a variety of aquatic insects. These insects are the foundation of the food chain and are essential to sustaining a healthy fishery. Recent research indicates that the same holds true for lakes. Several recent studies have examined the impact of shoreline development on lakes. The conclusion of these studies is that excessive development of shorelines and loss of shoreline vegetation are adversely impacting the quality of our lakes. For a lake property owner, these are extremely important findings and underscore the need to properly manage lakefront property.

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The take-home message here is straightforward: Maintain or restore as much natural shoreland as possible. That is not to say that you can’t—or shouldn’t—have an area to swim, moor boats, fish or lounge by the shore. However, manicured lawn to the water’s edge and boundless seawalls are not conducive to a healthy lake. Natural shorelines are easier to maintain and provide many ecological benefits.

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Caring for Your Shoreland

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In the first-ever nationwide assessment of lakes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency evaluated several stressors of lakes. Of the factors evaluated, lack of shoreline vegetation was the biggest problem facing the nation’s lakes. Lakes with poor shoreline habitat were three times more likely to be in poor biological condition (U.S. EPA 2010).

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Click here or the image below to get your own copy of The Water's Edge: Helping Fish and Wildlife on Your Lakeshore Property. The 12-page booklet is loaded with information on how to protect the lake.

10 Ways to Protect Spring Lake


  1. Don’t use lawn fertilizer that contains phosphorus—it's the law!

  2. Use the minimum amount of fertilizer recommended on the label — more is not necessarily better!

  3. Water the lawn sparingly to avoid washing nutrients and sediments into the lake.

  4. Don’t feed ducks and geese near the lake. Waterfowl droppings are high in nutrients and may cause swimmer’s itch.

  5. Don’t burn leaves and grass clippings near the shoreline.  Nutrients concentrate in the ash and can easily wash into the lake.

  6. Don’t mow to the water’s edge. Instead, allow a strip of natural vegetation (i.e., a greenbelt) to become established along your waterfront. A greenbelt will trap pollutants and discourage nuisance geese from frequenting your property.

  7. Where possible, promote infiltration of stormwater into the ground. Build a rain garden to capture runoff from driveways and downspouts.

  8. Don’t dump anything in area wetlands. Wetlands are natural purifiers.

  9. If you have a septic system, have your septic tank pumped every 2 to 3 years.

  10. Don’t be complacent — your collective actions will make or break the lake!

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Click the image above to download a copy of the Shoreline Living booklet.

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