Snow melt or rainwater that does not soak into the ground and instead runs off impervious surfaces (hard surfaces such as roofs, driveways, sidewalks, and compacted soils) or washes off lawns and steep slopes is called runoff. It is also referred to as stormwater. When runoff reaches the lake it can carry with it nutrients, eroded soil sediments, toxic materials, bacteria, and other pollutants that can do harm to water quality and fish and wildlife. Reducing runoff decreases the pollutants that can eventually reach your lake.

Managing stormwater and snowmelt on your property so that it soaks into the ground, rather than running off, is the best way to reduce runoff and filter out pollutants before they reach the lake. Impervious surfaces do not allow the absorption of water. Any green space, including gardens, trees, shrubs, or landscaping allows water to infiltrate slowly down into the soil. A natural shoreline will filter out runoff pollutants before they get into the water.

Learn about runoff and erosion, and the things you can do to help your lake stay healthy and your property maintain its value.

What is runoff? Does it have an impact on the water quality of my lake?

What are “Best Management Practices” for my property and my shoreline?

What are “impervious surfaces?” Do they really reduce the quality of my lake?

Are lawns a good way to manage the runoff from my lakeshore property to my lake?

Is there a good source for better understanding erosion, ice ridges, and other site challenges?

I hear that riprap and retaining walls are good ways to stabilize my shoreline. Is that true?

What kind of native plants can I use in Itasca County that will reduce erosion and runoff and would be specific to my property, soil conditions, and the plant heights that I would like?

Is there one source for Itasca County with good information and contacts? Yes! In fact, here are two.


Itasca County Shoreland Guide To Lake Stewardship - (pdf 2.9MB)

Itasca Waters - Erosion / Runoff

Photos by Mary Shideler