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July is Lakes Appreciation Month- Join in the Celebration!

2010 July 29

One of my favorite vacations as a kid was visiting Lake Wallenpaupack, PA. Our family had a house near the lake and we would spend afternoons canoeing on the water, playing on the beach, and strolling around the lake. July is one of the best months to visit lakes. It’s also Lakes Appreciation Month, a time to celebrate our nation’s lakes and dedicate ourselves to protecting them.

Every July, the North American Lake Management Society, Kent State University, and EPA sponsor the annual Secchi Dip-In. Secchi disks have alternating black and white quadrants and are used to measure water transparency. The disks are lowered into the water until the black and white sections can no longer be seen. During the Secchi Dip-In trained volunteers gather data about the health of their lakes and contribute it to a national database. The information gathered from the Dip-In is important for scientists and communities to understand trends in the health of our nation’s lakes.

The National Lakes Assessment, completed in April 2010, is the first-ever study of the condition of the nation’s lakes conducted by EPA and state and tribal partners. In this report, you can read about the biological condition of lakes, the quality of lake shoreline habitat, and much more. EPA also hosted a free Watershed Academy Webcast on July 15th called “Healthy Lakeshores Through Better Shoreline Protection.” This Webcast featured a landscape ecologist and two state lakes specialists who discussed voluntary and regulatory approaches to lake shoreline protection. An archived version will be posted soon at

As I have grown older and learned about the threats to our nation’s lakes, I value even more my memories of Lake Wallenpaupack. I realize now that all our individual actions—even ones seemingly small and insignificant—can add up to big problems. I am grateful for the opportunity to be working with EPA on a campaign to educate people about EPA’s National Lakes Assessment and ways to help protect and improve lake water quality.

We all have an important role in keeping our lakes healthy and clean so we can continue to enjoy them. Examples of things we can do include: planting riparian buffers along the shoreline, limiting use of fertilizers, and installing rain gardens to collect runoff. You can learn more by visiting EPA’s Clean Lakes page, downloading our new lakes widget, and following @EPAowow on Twitter.

About the author: Allison Gold is an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow in the Policy, Communications, and Resource Management Staff in the Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watershed.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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6 Responses leave one →
  1. tricia permalink
    July 29, 2010

    We all have a role except BP. BP obviously has a license to do whatever they want.

  2. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    August 1, 2010

    Rain gardens to collect and store stormwater runoff is a teriffic idea but one not yet talked very much about. But these would not only be great at collecting stormwater, they would make the whole area nicer and greener and add to carbon sequestration capabilities. And if they could be done using wholly native plants would be that much better. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  3. Charlie permalink
    August 3, 2010

    I appreciate them every month!!

  4. Mannie Bowler permalink
    October 23, 2010

    Great article. However, I wish some mention would have been made dangers of Carbon Monoxide at lakes. Realizing this article focused on water quality issues here in Arizona we’ve experienced several losses of children at lakes due to Carbon Monoxide concentrations.

  5. Mannie Bowler permalink
    October 23, 2010

    great information on water quality at lakes. I realize this articles main focus was on water quality however, a quick mention of the dangers of carbon monoxide concentrations to humans while enjoying the lakes would have been a great small plug for air quality and children’s environmental health. In Arizona we’ve had needless deaths caused by carbon monoxide concentrations.

  6. Sara permalink
    November 2, 2010

    Have you found any research being done on using Rain gardens for carbon sequestration. I work in the field of water resources, and we have installed many RGs. Now we are looking to see if there are studies out there to determine what level of carbon sequestration they provide. I look forward o hearing from you.

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