Great Lakes - How You Can Help

Keep the lakes great by helping at home

Even if your home isn’t lakeside, your actions still have an impact on the Great Lakes ecosystem. There are simple things you can do at home to be a part of the solution. If we each do a little, we will all do a lot.

Be smart and efficient with your water use: wait until you have a full load of dishes or laundry to run your appliance, turn off the water while you brush your teeth, limit your shower to 5 minutes and repair leaks in your sinks and toilets.

Install water-saving fixtures and appliances in your home, including washing machines, toilets, faucets and shower heads. Choose WaterSense labeled products.

When cleaning leaves or other debris from your lawn, driveway, or sidewalk, use a broom or rake instead of water from a hose.

Disconnect and redirect your downspout to landscaped areas or catch rain in a rain barrel for later use on your landscaping.

Donate unwanted aquatic pets to a hobby club or school instead of releasing them into waterways where they might become invasive.

Seal aquatic plants from aquariums and water gardens in plastic bags and dispose of them in trash bins.

Use less energy. Install "Energy Star" energy-efficient appliances. Replace ordinary light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. The less energy you use, the less coal needs to be burned, reducing the amount of pollution in the air and eventually, the water.

During rainstorms, avoid doing laundry or washing dishes. When combined with rainwater, large amounts of household wastewater can overflow sewage systems and pollute the Great Lakes basin.

Never flush prescriptions and over the counter medications or dump them down the drain. Contact your local waste management authority to find out about prescription take-back programs.

Keep the lakes great while you recreate

What’s your favorite Great Lakes pastime: boating, fishing, a sunset stroll? If you are one of the many people who benefit from the recreational opportunities the Great Lakes provide, there are simple things you can do to ensure their health and beauty.

• When boating, be sure to remove all visible mud, plants and animals from watercraft, completely drain water from gear and watercraft, and give your watercraft a hot water or high-pressure rinse before moving it into a different body of water.
• Do not dispose of unwanted or leftover bait in the water, as bait buckets can harbor invasive species. Instead, give them to others to use or dispose of them on land.
• When visiting natural areas, leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
• Do not feed the birds or other local wildlife.
• Don’t litter – or better yet, pick up litter that you find.

Be a leader in keeping the lakes great

Your actions are an example – share them!

• Participate in local habitat restoration workdays and beach clean ups.
• Use native plants in gardens and landscaping and help create natural habitat in your yard – and tell your neighbors!
• Support wetland restoration projects in your community.

Help Shedd restore our local habitats

Find out how.

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