Watching Canada Goose and other waterfowl from a distance

Canada Geese are easily identifiable by their large bodies, tall black necks, white cheeks and chinstrap, and their loud, communal “honking”. They tend to stay together in flocks and forage on aquatic plants growing in shallow lake water and on grasses found along the shoreline.

Collecting and Composting Fallen Leaves and Yard Waste

It happens every autumn: The leaves turn into a palate of colors and then fall. Don’t blow the fallen leaves into the lake but rather collect them and turn them into valuable compost. Mature compost can be safely applied to your yard plants to supplement the nutrients they need without harming Bantam Lake via nutrient pollution.

Careful Boating in Shallow and Vegetated Areas

When you boat in shallow waters of Bantam Lake, the propeller of your boat can stir up the bottom sediments and vegetation. Avoid shallow areas to minimize harming the habitat of aquatic organisms that use shallow portions of the lake and to maintain water clarity and quality.

Driving Your Boat

Waves and wakes from your boat carry a lot of energy. When they crash into the shore, they can actually weaken the shoreline and cause erosion. Lakeshore erosion increases the amount of sediment in the water making it turbid, or murky. When driving your boat or jet-ski, make sure that your follow all of the established boating guidelines such as “no wake” zones, obey set speed limits and be courteous to the other boaters and swimmers.

Fueling Your Boat

When the hydrocarbons that make up gas and oil get into water, they change the amount of oxygen that is available to organisms and can cause serious problems throughout the ecosystem of the lake. Be extra careful not to spill any gasoline when fueling up your boat. If possible, let trained professionals help you.

Pet Waste Clean-Up

Clean up your pet’s waste regularly. Your pet’s waste contains extremely high numbers of bacteria such as E. coli. Fecal-borne bacteria enters the water each time it rains. The water of Bantam Lake is regularly tested by the local health department. When this bacteria is detected, beach closures and lake usage restrictions are mandated because they pose a public health risk.

Fireworks

Inside every firework, there are many different toxic elements that are released when it explodes. These are necessary to produce the vibrant colors that we see and blasts that we can hear. Some of the elements include lead, barium, strontium, copper, aluminum, cadmium, and sulfur. Scientists have studied these elements for many years and know the negative impacts that they have on nature. Lead, for example, is known for the ability to pass through the food web and accumulate to toxic concentrations, which is especially harmful to top predators like eagles and loons. There are now laws and regulations to prevent the spread of lead throughout the environment. When it falls from the sky as a byproduct of a fireworks show, we are encouraging the introduction of this toxic element to the environment and threatening the wildlife that we love and cherish. Limit the number of fireworks you set off in proximity to and especially over…

Clean, Drain, and Dry All Watercraft

Inspect your boat, trailer, and other equipment for hitchhikers! This protects our lake, streams, and rivers from invasive species. Every time your boat, jet-ski, canoe, kayak, or paddleboard leaves or enters the water it needs to be cleaned. All you need to use is hot water and elbow grease! Detergents and polishes contain chemicals that will harm the water; such as chlorine, ammonia, and phosphates. Skip the chemicals and use absorbent drying cloths when cleaning your boat. Never clean the boat while it is in the water; trailer it and clean it on shore away from your lake.

Responsible Lawn Care Requires Less Fertilizer

It is a good time of year to review all of your lawn care strategies. Compost is better for the plants than artificial fertilizers and is less likely to harm Bantam Lake if it runs off into the water. Apply mature compost evenly into the soil.

Conserve Your Soil: It Takes a Long Time to Develop

April rain showers erode exposed soils rapidly. Controlling soil erosion prevents nutrients from entering the water. Soil is a non-renewable resource; it takes a long time to develop and replace it (hundreds of years). Therefore, it is easier to conserve it while you have it!

Water Conservation: It Makes a Difference

Install a rain barrel to collect water that you can use to irrigate your landscaping when there is little rain. Contact a local garden designer to plan a rain garden for your yard. The sooner you install a rain garden the sooner you prevent needless nutrient run-off from entering Bantam Lake. Rain gardens are most effective at capturing excess run-off near buildings and along shorelines where it serves as a buffer zone. Consider a variety of plants that can tolerate saturated soils and seasons when the soils will be dry. A well-designed garden provides a diversity of colors and textures which make it beautiful throughout the year. Carefully consider which plants you select. Native plants are always the best option.

No Campfires on the Lake

Local town municipalities prohibit campfires on the lake when it is covered by ice. Campfire remnants look unsightly and often contain unburned trash. This material enters the lake when the ice melts, thereby encouraging nutrients to enter the lake and litter that needs to be picked up afterwards.

De-Icing Agents

Be careful when using de-icing agents (salts). These products enter Bantam Lake via runoff and change the chemical properties of the water. Current research projects tell us that too much salt in the water makes our lakes vulnerable to certain invasive plants and influences the microscopic animals living in the water. Clean your sidewalks and driveways frequently so that accumulating snow does not turn into ice. Regularly maintain drains so that snow melt can be effectively drained away. Consider using sand on icy patches to aid in traction but without adding salt.