Freshwater Weekly 11/2/17

Posted on November 2, 2017 by

This week:  the link between fall leaves & water quality + help stop invasive species + water visioning in South Bend + more ways you can make a difference.


If you live in an urban or suburban area, there’s something really simple you can do this fall to protect the waters in your Great Lakes community: keep fallen leaves out of storm drains.

As leaves that fall on streets and accumulate in storm drains decompose, they release nitrogen and phosphorus into the watershed. An excess of these nutrients can contribute to harmful algal blooms like those that plague Lake Erie each summer.

To keep leaves out of storm drains, you can mulch them right into your lawn with your lawnmower. The nitrogen and phosphorus of the decomposing leaves will fertilize your grass, leaving you with stronger turf that will ultimately help to absorb more runoff pollution. Or gather your leaves into a compost pile and use them in the spring to mulch and fertilize your garden beds. Whatever you do with your leaves, don’t trash them, don’t burn them, and don’t let them clog up the storm drains!


Earlier this week, the Michigan House Commerce and Trade Committee approved a bill that would weaken the state’s ballast water protections. House Bill 5095 would effectively repeal the standards passed in 2005 with near unanimous bipartisan support, and leave us to rely exclusively on weaker federal standards for ballast water pollution.

The discharge of untreated ballast water is responsible for the introduction of many invasive species to the Great Lakes, and we can’t afford to weaken our standards. Michiganders, get more info and take action on our blog.

TAKE ACTION: Tell your Michigan lawmaker to vote no on HB 5095.


Freshwater Future staff members have been traveling around the Great Lakes to learn what water means to residents and what we all envision for the future. We’ve been hearing what Great Lakes residents want for their water—including drinking water—and what gets in the way of achieving that vision. That input is helping to shape a Water Vision for the Great Lakes that we’ll share with organizations and governments working on policies.

On Monday, we’ll be in South Bend, Indiana. You can find our meeting schedule on our Facebook page, and we’ll be adding details as we finalize plans for upcoming meetings.

Please help us elevate the voices of Great Lakes residents! If you are able to join us, please click “going” on our Facebook event to confirm your attendance, or send an email to


© 2021 Freshwater Future. All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.