TRAVERSE CITY — More than one-third of the shoreline around Leelanau County's pristine Glen Lake was mostly undisturbed in 2010, meaning all the plants along the lake were still in place and able to filter runoff headed into the water.
Sarah Litch hopes any further development along the lake, or others in Leelanau County, will respect natural shoreline and help keep water clean. Leelanau Clean Water, a county committee, will host a workshop on Thursday that will focus on how low-impact development and landscaping can increase business, property and land value.
"We had been looking at what's happening around lakes in terms of building and development and the impact that it has on the land and the water," said Litch, who chairs Leelanau Clean Water.
Litch said properly planned development can have a much lower impact on the environment. She said there are several easy steps that can help ensure the county's lakes stay clean, even as building in the county increases.
Speakers at the event will discuss low-impact landscaping, shoreline regulations, septic system maintenance, and lakeside development evaluations. It's geared toward homeowners, builders, developers, landscapers and real estate agents.
She said home builders should be cognizant of vegetation on a lake shore property because those plants are often the last line of defense against runoff.
"The deep-rooted vegetation on the shore filters … runoff from entering the lake and is kind of the last guard against septic outflow," Litch said.
Litch said the group is trying to educate people who move to Leelanau County to approach their natural resources in the most environmentally sound way possible.
"People move up here ... and they want their suburbia-type house and lawn, and that’s not the way to take care of a lake," Litch said. "They need to change their minds so we don't kill what they love."
The event will take place on Thursday at the Leelanau County Government Center in Suttons Bay from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.