joanne zacharias with assistance from jenny kohn jodi rife lori stellick wagner l.
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Fuzzy Situation Project Joanne Zacharias with assistance from Jenny Kohn Jodi Rife Lori Stellick-Wagner Developed By: The Land of 10,000 Disappearing Lakes Challenges:

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Joanne Zacharias with assistance from Jenny Kohn Jodi Rife Lori Stellick-Wagner

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joanne zacharias with assistance from jenny kohn jodi rife lori stellick wagner

Fuzzy Situation Project

Joanne Zachariaswith assistance fromJenny KohnJodi Rife Lori Stellick-Wagner

Developed By:

The Land of 10,000 Disappearing Lakes

  • Because of increased need for more farmland, wetlands are being drained and filled which decreases or reduces native vegetation and intern increases erosion along lake shores.
  • By farmers using drain tiles, the water runoff carries silt, phosphorus, and soil particles into a holding pond or lake, which smothers native vegetation and prevents growth of new vegetation.
  • Runoff from construction sites carries sediments such as soil particles, broken pavement washed off of city streets, dirt, and flakes of metal. When these particles reach lakes and streams, they cause the water to become turbid, or cloudy. These sediments can also damage fish gills and interfere with aquatic life.
challenges continued
Challenges continued:
  • Lakeshore owners remove native vegetation along lakeshore property causing erosion, which allows runoff pollution to enter our lakes and streams. Lakeshore owners do not see the connection between lake shore habitat and fish populations and often end up wrecking the very thing they value.
  • Because of improperly maintained septic systems and misapplications of fertilizers on lawn or farm fields, nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen reach our lakes and streams. This contributes to over fertilization of lakes and leads to an increase in undesirable weeds and algae growth. Excess weeds and algae are harmful to fish and make a lake less attractive for swimming, boating, and other activities.
challenges continued4
Challenges continued:
  • More than 550 thousand pounds of herbicides are used

in Minnesota lakes each year. While these herbicides

kill native vegetation and harm aquatic life, the human

population enjoy weed free beaches and lakeshore


  • When dams are constructed or in

place, to much water is held in a

shallow lake for too long causing

the aquatic vegetation to drown or

suffocate, and inhibits any new growth.

challenges continued5
Challenges continued:
  • When wetlands are rebuilt, there is no regulation on what is to be planted. Therefore, if foreign vegetation is planted, then native vegetation is less likely to survive. Also, care of restored wetlands is critical to ensure that native aquatic plants flourish.
  • Minnesotans are not financially committed to contributing to the non-game wildlife find through state tax returns, even as the number of taxpayers has risen. This contradicts Minnesotans saying their more connected to nature then people on other states.
  • Because of a lack of legislation regarding property rights, land owners have the right to change the landscape whenever and wherever they need in order to improve their quality of life.
underlying problem

Underlying Problem:

How might we as humans in the future ensure the protection of the natural habitat that is diminishing because of humans trying to transform the land rather than live within it?

solution 1
Solution #1
  • People in many parts of the country are starting to build rain gardens in their yards and promoting their use in other locations, such as neighborhood parks. You can help in your own yard by simply building one or more rain gardens to collect runoff from your roof. Rain water can sometimes be collected from your driveway or lawn by locating a rain garden in a low spot where the water naturally drains.
  • Rain Gardens are just what they sound like – gardens that soak up rain water, mainly from your roof, but also from your driveway and lawn. They are landscaped areas planted with wild flowers and other native vegetation to replace areas of lawn. The gardens fill with a few inches of water and allow the water to slowly filter into the ground rather than running off to storm drains.
  • Holding back the runoff helps prevent pollutants such as fertilizers from washing off your yard, into storm sewers, and eventually into nearby streams and lakes.

Rain Gardens


Solution #2

Green Roofs

Green Roofs

  • Green roofs provide important environmental and human health benefits including lowering energy expenditures, purifying the air, and reducing storm water runoff. Storm water runoff, which carries contaminates, has been identified as a major source of water pollution. Green roofs can reduce these negative effects by absorbing up to 75% of rain that falls upon them.
  • A green roof is a lightweight engineered roofing system that allows for the propagation of rooftop vegetation while protecting the integrity of the underlying roof. Green roof systems allow for more extensive cultivation of plant life across wide expanses of a given roof top.
  • Green roofs provide a sensible, beautiful, architecturally appealing way to address some of the most urgent ecological issues facing our urban centers today. Families could share the duties that green roofs have while benefiting from its positive effects. Green roofs absorb the rainwater so that it doesn’t drain into the sewers and end up in our lakes and streams.
solution 3
Solution # 3
  • Low Impact development uses common sense and technology-it aims to preserve open space, minimize land disturbance, protect natural systems, and processes and incorporate natural site elements as design elements.
  • Because we create the problem, humans can reduce or prevent it
  • It benefits municipalities, developers, and the environment.
  • Low Impact Development saves developers and local governments money.

Low Impact Development

solution 4
Solution # 4
  • Each piece of land on a body of water is an equal part of the shoreline community.
  • The lake homeowner will maintain or create a shoreline vegetation area that is a minimum of 75 feet from the shoreline. It should contain native vegetation which allows native animals, birds, and fish to survive while protecting the lake.
  • Lake homeowners need to maintain or plant native trees, shrubs, or bushes to stop lake shore erosion.
  • When the shoreline is preserved or created, this will control the run off from buildings and impervious surfaces. Therefore this type of shoreline will provide a filter for runoff, food, cover, and nesting sites for birds and wildlife.

Shoreline Management

Shoreline Management

solution 5
Solution # 5
  • Native plants have evolved and adapted to local conditions over thousands of years. They are hardy plants so they can survive summer heat and winter cold. Once they are planted they require no irrigation or fertilization. They are resistant to most pests and diseases. Thus, native plant’s suit today’s interest in low maintenance landscaping.
  • Homeowners, lakeshore owners, and developers can all appreciate the environmental, economic, and aesthetics of natural landscaping.
  • Natural landscapes provide shelter and food for wildlife, have climatological benefits, reduces air pollution and slows the greenhouse effect. They are more cost efficient and require less maintenance than commercial landscaping. They decrease erosion and runoff thus improving water quality.

Natural or Native Landscaping


Criteria Matrix














1 = Worst and 5 = Best


Action Plan

  • As a school project, our plan is to create a rain garden which is designed to catch rain water. This process prevents erosion and runoff which in turn would improve the quality of water in our neighboring lakes, rivers, and streams. Once the project is complete, we would have an open house. Parents and other members of the community would be welcome. Our purpose would be to educate and inform people of this cost efficient, low maintenance, and environment friendly solution. Our hope is that people in the community adopt this solution and put it to use.

Action Plan Continued

  • To ensure the future protection of the natural habitat humans can create rain gardens. These can be placed by businesses, homes, parks, schools and lakeshore properties. Rain gardens would promote cleaner water, healthier fish and wildlife populations and would greatly improve the environment.

Action Plan Continued

  • Rain gardens would prevent runoff due to the increased amount of water filtered into the ground. This in turn would help reduce pollutants such as phosphorous and nitrogen from flowing into the lakes, rivers, and streams. This filtering action would also prevent water from rising to dangerous levels increasing erosion of lakeshores and streambanks.