Pond water illustration

Improving water quality from lawn to pond

Ever wonder why pond water turns murky? While it’s partially a natural process, the way you care for your lawn and landscape can muddy pond waters. 

Grass clippings and fertilizers get to the curb or street are washed into storm drains, many of which flow directly into ponds. Pollution in storm drain runoff causes ponds to become more stressed, and may cultivate algae and bacteria. 

“Ponds do a lot for us, and they need our help,” Water Resources Specialist Jack Distel said. “With hard work and collaboration, we can make a sustainable urban ecosystem with clean water and healthy ponds.”

To improve water quality:

  • Avoid using fertilizer on your lawn.
  • Remove turf grass and replace it with native plants, blm.mn/noturf
  • Keep roads and sidewalks clean. Think about adopting a storm drain, adopt-a-drain.org.
  • Build a rain garden on your lawn, blm.mn/raingarden.
  • On landscapes near water, install a buffer of native plants, blm.mn/buffer
  • Beware of herbicides put into ponds to control plants. Plants are a foundation to a pond ecosystem. Killing pond plants frees sediments, increases nutrient levels and may actually trigger algae growth. 

Recognize that ponds are stressed and accept their murky waters for what they are: an opportunity to improve the environment in your community. For more information, visit blm.mn/ponds or call 952-563-8748.