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Ask Lyn: What we do and don’t do

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

TWF Posted by: TWF

Dear Lyn,

When I was at the lake with friends last weekend, there was so much seaweed. It was a bummer! We weren’t sure who to call for help. I know The Watershed Foundation does a lot to improve water quality in our area. Does TWF get rid of weeds?


Weed-Weary William

Hi, William,

Weeds can really spoil a weekend at the lake! You’re not alone in wondering who can help. In fact, we hear your question so often that it earned a place in our FAQs

The answer? TWF does not do weed control, and here’s why.

Aquatic weed overgrowth is a result of pollution that has already washed into our waters. For example, runoff from lawns and farm fields often contains fertilizer. When those nutrients reach our streams and our lakes, they feed weeds. Weed overgrowth is a symptom of pollution.

TWF prevents and fixes pollution at its source on land before it reaches local waterways. For example, we work with landowners, including farmers and lake residents, on projects that keep pollutants like fertilizer out of our water. Our work is proactive and preventative. We focus on root causes, not symptoms.

So who can you call about nuisance weeds? Your lake association! Most area lakes have an association of some kind, and they are your go-to resource for help with weeds, algae, and sediment. Not sure how to reach yours? We’re happy to connect you! Just contact us.

While I’m at it, here are a couple of other things TWF doesn’t do.

Sewers: If you have sewer concerns or want to learn more about your local sewer district, check out Lakeland Regional Sewer District, Turkey Creek Regional Sewer District, or the new Tippecanoe-Chapman Regional Sewer District. Board meetings are open to the public. Kosciusko County is also developing a plan for a county-wide sewer district that will help non-sewered areas develop the appropriate infrastructure and support. Stay tuned! 

Boat Patrol: When it comes to usage of and behavior on our lakes, the Department of Natural Resources holds authority. Each county is part of an IDNR law enforcement district and is assigned conservation officers for support. Some lake associations also work with their county sheriff’s office, which may provide additional boat patrol. (You’ll see those boats on the Tippecanoe chain of lakes and on Lake Wawasee, for example.) If you have concerns about behavior on your lake, find your DNR law enforcement district and contact its headquarters.

You’re right that TWF works hard to improve water quality in our area, William. Along with pollution-preventing projects, we educate the public about clean water practices. We also build partnerships with other organizations–including lake associations, sewer districts, and the DNR–to address water quality issues. We do do a lot! But some issues fall outside the scope of our work, or we’re just not equipped to take them on. That’s why our partnerships are so important for protecting local water quality. No one organization can do everything, but by coordinating our efforts and combining our strengths, we can do so much more together. 

When community members like you come to us with questions we can’t answer or issues we can’t solve, we’ll always connect you with reliable information and incredible partners who can.

See you on the lake,


P.S. If you or your friends own property on or near a lake, then you can help prevent weed overgrowth too! You can reduce or eliminate your lawn fertilizer, or use phosphorus-free fertilizer. You can also install lake-friendly landscaping with native plants, whose deep roots filter pollution from runoff. Learn more about healthy shoreline practices, and reach out to us anytime with questions.