Your lake is at risk. Why?

Many Snohomish County lakes suffer from too much phosphorus, which comes from homes that drain into the lake from the watershed. When it rains, the phosphorus washes into ditches and streams and ends up in the lake. A little phosphorous from many homes can add up to big problems for lakes like:

  • Excessive algae and toxic algae blooms
  • Lower water clarity
  • Stress on fish and wildlife
  • Lower property values

How does phosphorus get from my house to the lake?

Most people don't even realize that they could be contributing to phosphorus pollution. Phosphorus comes from common household sources like lawn fertilizers, pet and animal wastes, septic systems and dirt from driveways, roofs or erosion. Plus, soils in this area are naturally rich in phosphorus.

Major phosphorus sources





Pet Waste




How can you make a difference? Be LakeWise!

The good news is that by making a few small changes on your property, you can be part of the solution. The "Clear Choices Checklist (PDF)" is a guide to the most important actions you can take to protect your lake and be LakeWise. Learn more about the checklist items for:

By completing the checklist, your property can be "LakeWise Certified" and you will receive an attractive sign for your property. If you live right on a lake, you can also earn an optional "Healthy Shores" recognition

Incentives for taking LakeWise actions

Earn $200 in septic system care rebates

Visit the Snohomish County Health Department's Savvy Septic program to learn more about how to apply for rebates for your next professional septic inspection (with or without pumping) and riser installation.

Free northwest native plants for your shoreline

You can create a healthy shoreline that is also good for the lake by replacing some of your lawns with shrubs, perennials, or trees while still preserving your views and lake access. Interested shoreline owners may receive a free landscape design and free plants. Learn more on our LakeWise Healthy Shores page

Here’s how you take the first step

The process to become certified is easy! Start by signing up online or calling 425-388-3204 to schedule a free LakeWise certification visit. We offer flexible scheduling and you don’t need to complete any of the Clear Choice actions before the visit.

A local expert will meet with you to provide practical suggestions for implementing the Clear Choices such as tips for your lawns and yard. The visit is not an inspection -- just a way to provide support to help you move forward.

Participation in the LakeWise program is completely voluntary and you will be under no obligation to take any actions following the visit.

A LakeWise testimonial:

“As a resident of Lake Crabapple these past 10 years, I want to do everything in my power to keep it as pristine as it is today. I attended the free Safe Septic System workshop offered in the Seven Lakes area last fall. It was there that I found out about LakeWise Certification, so I invited them out to assess my property. I was pleasantly surprised at how many things we were already doing to protect our lake and environment. They also gave us great ideas to improve vegetation around our shoreline that would squeeze out the invasive, non-native plants. I highly recommend this program to anyone who has an interest in keeping their lake safe for children, adults, pets, fish, birds, waterfowl and any living organism that thrives in a lake environment.”

Patti C., Lake Crabapple

Patti with LakeWise Certification Sign for Crabapple Lake
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