Sediments make the water look “muddy.”

Key Facts

  • Sediments occur naturally on the lake bottom.
  • Sediments are carried into streams and our lake by stormwater.
  • Sediments are one of the top three sources of pollution entering our streams and Torch Lake along with nutrients and toxins.
  • Human actions can increase the amount of sediments or increase the size of particles entering the water. After land is cleared of trees, sediments are carried into the water.
  • Sediments can help plants grow: algae grows on rocks and aquatic plants grow on the bottom.
  • Too many sediments washing into the water can cover fish spawning areas and destroy habitat for minnows, crayfish and other aquatic animals.

 Did you know?

  • Sediments consist of soil, sand, clay and, minerals. They occur when rocks are broken down by water, wind or ice. Decaying plants and organisms can be found in sediments.
  • Sediments can be suspended in the water until they settle on the bottom of the lake.
  • Sediments on the bottom are called “benthic” sediments.
  • Sediments are transported by the movement of water. The greater the flow or force of water, the greater the distance that sediments are moved. The amount and size of the sediment particles will also be greater.

Sediment Transport

Image: USGS

You Care

We know you want to enjoy the lake for many years (and generations) to come. So, we’ve put together a list of simple steps you can take to reduce the nutrients, sediments and toxins flowing into the lake and its streams.

Pump your septic tank every 3 years

Plant Natives

  • Keep the natural landscape of northern Michigan around your home.
  • Limit the size of your lawn.

Replant Trees

  • Trees take up nutrients so they don't reach the lake.
  • Tree roots hold soil that contains nutrients from eroding away into the lake.

Use Natural Lawn Fertilizers

  • Too much chemical fertilizer is applied to lawns and ends up making the lake green.

Plant Rain Gardens

  • Around Driveways
  • Near Perimeter Drainpipes

Plant Buffer Gardens along Shorelines



Rain Gardens

Lake Superior Streams


How a Rain Garden Works

Watershed Council

Natural Shorelines


Pervious Pavement 


Lake Superior Streams

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Don't just wish that Torch Lake will stay blue.
Choose a water-friendly lifestyle - make a difference!