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Water: Lakes

Lakes Awareness Month and Outreach Materials

Outreach Materials and Reference Documents

We encourage citizens to enjoy their lakes and reservoirs throughout the year but especially in July – as July is Lakes Appreciation Month. The North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) sponsors Lakes Appreciation Month Exit EPA Disclaimer each July to draw attention to the value and importance of lakes and reservoirs. Lakes Appreciation Month also overlaps with The Secchi Dip-In Exit EPA Disclaimer.

paddleboatAmericans love to spend July, especially the Fourth, on the water, at beaches, and on lakeshores. Boating, fishing, and swimming are favorite recreational uses of American lakes and reservoirs. Lakes and reservoirs also play other vital, and often hidden, roles. They provide drinking water and irrigation water for agricultural fields and are a source of electricity and power generation. They also serve the important function of absorbing rainfall and runoff from land, help to prevent floods, and provide homes for precious wildlife.

It is clear that as we enjoy and use lakes, we have to protect them. Because lake pollution is caused by so many different activities, no one regulation will suffice to prevent it. Education and outreach aimed at changing individual behavior are key components to any successful lake protection effort.

EPA has developed some lakes outreach materials that are presented below. They show that the choices we make (as businesses, individuals, lake associations, and communities) can help keep America's waters clean. Lake associations, county and state governments, neighborhood civic associations, commercial marinas and yacht clubs, campsite operators, realtors and others may all use these materials.

EPA Partners for Lakes Awareness Month

North American Lake Management Society
The North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) Exit EPA Disclaimer sponsors an annual Lake Appreciation Month in July. The NALMS website offers many tips on how citizens can participate in lake pollution prevention, raise awareness about the value of lakes, and access educational materials on lakes and lake ecology. Site visitors can also play a pond life identification game, browse technical material from scientific journals, and subscribe to NALMS' LakeLine magazine.

The Great American Secchi Dip-In
The July Lakes Appreciation Month also overlaps with The Secchi Dip-In Exit EPA Disclaimer. In this nationwide lake monitoring event, volunteers measure how clear lake waters are by using a simple device called the Secchi disk-a flat disk with alternating black and white quadrants. It is lowered into the water, and the depth at which it disappears to the naked eye is noted as a measure of the transparency of the lake water. Transparency can be affected by the color of the water, algae, or suspended sediments. Volunteers submit their Secchi Dip-In measurements to the Dip-In program at Kent State University, where the data are analyzed and trend maps are made.

EPA Technical Guidance and Reference Documents

EPA regularly produces technical guidance and other information covering many aspects of lake management.

Technical online materials For a guidance document on bioassessment methods for lakes, a manual on water quality monitoring methods for volunteers, case studies on lake restoration, and other materials, visit: EPA Lake Documents (Online)
National Lakes Assessment EPA and its state and tribal partners have conducted a survey of the nation's lakes, ponds and reservoirs which was published in April 2010. For more information on the National Lakes Assessment, visit: National Lakes Assessment
Outreach Materials to order from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP) To order technical guidance manuals on water quality modeling, monitoring, fisheries management, lake restoration techniques, and statistical techniques for lake water quality data, visit NSCEP.

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