July 1 – 7, 2022Vol. 24, No. 4

Hard Work of Youth Conservation Corps Improves Belgrades Water Quality

by Anthony Wilson

Got an erosion problem along a shoreline in the Belgrade Lakes watershed? The 7 Lakes Alliance has a solution.

The mission of 7 Lakes’ Youth Conservation Corps is to execute erosion control projects that keep dirt out of the lakes — phosphorous in dirt being a necessary nutrient for algae, the organism that can turn lakes an icky green.

The YCC is accepting applications for summer projects. Interested property owners can email Erosion Control Project Coordinator Stuart Cole at stuart.cole@7lakesalliance.org about their proposed project. Cole will schedule an inspection of the worksite and offer recommendations about what should be done, including providing a list of the needed supplies. He also pursues any required state permitting.

Property owners provide the supplies; the YCC provides the labor at a minimal cost. (Labor is the costliest expense of most construction project.) Crews of high school and college students typically complete a project in a day or less.

Erosion control methods are best management practices (BMP), and the current BMP of choice is reinforcing shorelines and embankments with riprap. Optimally, the broken stone is complemented by other BMPs, such as:

Cole also oversees 7 Lakes’ LakeSmart program, which helps property owners determine whether their camp or lake home could benefit from adding BMPs. Email him to schedule a survey of your property. If it’s deemed effective at mitigating runoff into the lake, you can earn a prized LakeSmart designation and a sign that, we hope, will encourage your neighbors to do the same.

Our lakes are gems. But our enjoyment of them carries a responsibility to be good stewards of them so they remain crystalline for generations to come. That means proactively keeping dirt out of the lakes.

Anthony Wilson is communication director for the 7 Lakes Alliance.

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