... Don't Leaf Them

Love Your Lakes

Although some leaves began to fall with the drought, it won't be long until it's time to start thinking about leaves falling en masse. Remember that leaves in the street this fall results in green lakes next summer. By keeping leaves and other yard waste out of the street, you are proudly displaying your love of Dane County's lakes and streams.

Leaves or grass clippings in the street can get washed directly to the nearest lake or stream via storm drains when it rains. Even if the leaves never move, rain water running over and through them makes a nutrient-rich tea that's carried directly to the storm drains promoting algae growth. There are easy alternatives to raking:

  • Use your lawn mower to mulch leaves directly on your lawn.
  • Place them on your vegetables gardens, flowerbeds, or around your trees and shrubs to help suppress weeds.
  • Compost your leaves and use them next year in your gardens.

If you rake, keep leaves on the terrace, not in the street. Check with your municipality for curbside collection dates and other requirements so that your leaves are at the curb for as short a time as possible. No matter how far you live from the waters' edge, storm drains lead to the nearest lake or stream. So, when you see someone keeping leaves out of the street, you know they're showing their love for the lake by keeping algae-feeding nutrients out of our surface waters.

For more information on "Love your Lakes, Don't Leaf Them," or to obtain yard signs and brochures, visit www.myfairlakes.com or call 608-244-3746.

UW-Madison is a member of the Madison Area Municipal Storm Water Partnership and is committed to meeting campus stormwater management goals.

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