Lake Minnetonka Zero Waste Challenge

Litter, such as these beer cans on the bottom of Lake Minnetonka, cause far more problems than pollution. (Submitted photo)
The LMCD is encouraging lake users to be proactive and focus on leaving zero waste in the lake to prevent a trashed lake bottom, seen above. (Submitted photo)

The Lake Minnetonka Conservation District and partnering agencies are challenging all lake users to be proactive, work together and leave behind zero waste while out on the water.

As lake users prepare for any outing on the lake, the LMCD urges them to consider the

What is there to preserve?
• 14,043 acres of surface use area and 125 miles of shoreline
• An abundance of Minnesota aquatic wildlife (loons, cormorants, herons, ducks, etc.)
• Nationally recognized fishing
• Pristine water quality

What can be done to prevent waste entering the lake?
• Plan outings prior to arriving at the lake
• Bring trash bags and supplies so that litter never touches the water
• Remove and dispose of trash bags when returning to land
• Know where the public rest rooms are located

Why should the challenge be undertaken?
• It’s the law: littering is a misdemeanor, carrying with it a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail.
• Non-organic matter takes a long time to decompose: aluminum cans can take 80 to 200 years to break down, and a glass bottle is estimated to take up to a million years to decompose naturally.
• Litter can cause injury to aquatic wildlife
• Exposure to fecal matter can cause illness
• Litter that comes to rest on sandy portions of the lake bottom provides an anchoring point for zebra mussels that would otherwise be unable to anchor there. This allows the mussels to spread into parts of the lake that would have been otherwise untouched by the invasive species.

Those interested in combating the littering problem in Lake Minnetonka can also contact the Lake Minnetonka Association at [email protected] to volunteer in coordinated cleanup efforts. Pictures of efforts to preserve the lake should also be sent to this address.