Threats to Protecting Water Quality
Pesticides, Fertilizers, and Nutrients
Although wetlands contribute to reducing pollutants such as nutrient and sediment that enter water bodies, it is important to control pollution at its source. Excess nutrients to wetlands routinely decrease available oxygen in water systems, which causes excessive algae blooms. Common sources of nutrients are pesticides and fertilizers applied to private lawns. The Township enforces a fertilizer ordinance to help protect water resources.
Impervious surfaces such as concrete and rooftops significantly increase storm water run-off that carries sediment and nutrients to drainage basins. The result is increased surface waters, which can escalate localized and regional flooding. Further, increased levels and rates of storm water run-off can quickly erode soil, which is aesthetically and environmentally undesirable. The Township makes every effort to monitor increases in impervious surfaces and recommends the use of alternative semi-impervious surfaces for building wherever feasible.
Vegetation loss significantly contributes to the degradation of water quality. Plants have the ability to trap and break down pollutants, and various plants that grow along the banks of rivers and lakes help prevent runoff of the pollutants such as phosphorus and nitrates. When vegetation is removed, chemicals that would otherwise be restricted to entering water bodies readily flow into waterways, creating high nutrient levels that create excess algae blooms and diminish oxygen levels.
Invasive species are a great concern regarding the quality of waterways. Some of the most common invasive species that influence the quality of aquatic systems in Michigan include the zebra mussel, purple loosestrife, the round goby, and the sea lamprey. When a non-native species is introduced into a body of water, the natural control mechanisms found in their native habitat do not always exist, creating excess population growth of the invasive species. Invasive species have the ability to alter water chemistry and the ecology of aquatic systems, which results in compromised natural environments that are not reflective of native systems.