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"Guardian" program aims to protect Lake Charlevoix this spring

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Little green flags will be popping up along the shores of Lake Charlevoix this summer to promote a new guardian program.

It's sponsored by the Lake Charlevoix Association. Waterfront residents and businesses that have the power to impact the watershed are encouraged to sign up.

The Lake Guardian commitment asks individuals to pledge to do nine things, including avoiding
"the use of yard fertilizers containing phosphorous and to limit the use of fertilizers wherever possible." Committed members will also vow to request that landscapers use "lake-friendly methods" and to use native plants to cover exposed soil and "work to control erosion on or near our Lakeshore."

The Petoskey News reports:

"There are pledges available on the Lake Charlevoix Association website that those interested in participating can sign. By signing, the individual or business is promising to practice certain lawn care and land management practices. Those participants are then encouraged to fly the burgee on their dock, put a bumper sticker on their car or place a sticker in their store window to let others know they are a part of the program.
Basically, a homeowner will agree to limit or eliminate chemical usage, maintain septic areas, protect, maintain or restore greenbelt buffer zones and avoid actions which may create harmful water flow into the lake. Those businesses whose activities do not impact the watershed directly will be asked to display a window decal showing their support for the principles of the program.

An additional complementary set of guidelines is available for business owners.

Lake Charlevoix Association member Joe Kimmell told the Petoskey News that the initiative will adhere to tenets that guide the Association.

"What we hope to raise awareness of is not only how nice it is, but how fragile it is. When problems start occurring, it's harder to correct problems when they've gotten away from you instead of preventing problems from happening to begin with."

-Lucy Perkins, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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