You won't get a badge, but you will get a yard sign if you "measure" up as a Lake Protector.

Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance (LOWA) is implementing a new program to encourage residents and businesses to feature low impact landscaping (LIL) in their yards.

You won't get a badge, but you will get a yard sign if you "measure" up as a Lake Protector.
Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance (LOWA) is implementing a new program to encourage residents and businesses to feature low impact landscaping (LIL) in their yards.

LIL techniques help absorb storm water runoff, the biggest contributor nationwide to non-point source water pollution and a major factor for Lake of the Ozarks as well, according to LOWA officials.

To encourage and educate about the use of LILs, LOWA has developed a scored checklist to evaluate yards. Points are awarded as inches. The stronger your LIL usage, the higher you score.
If you score 36 inches, you earn the designation of LOWA LIL Lake Protector and will receive a nice sign for your yard in honor of your initiative. Earn braggin' rights in your neighborhood by being the first to earn the Lake Protector designation.

To have your yard and landscaping practices evaluated by a trained volunteer evaluator — even if you don't think you'll make the designation, this is an opportunity to get advice on ways to improve your landscaping while protecting Lake water quality — contact LOWA. The advice is free. Soil testing through LOWA is only $13.

Information Needed
Your Name
Physical Address
Mailing Address, if different than physical
Phone Number

Contact LOWA
Call 573-374-1331
Mail LOWA, P.O. Box 836, Sunrise Beach, MO 65079

Does your yard measure up?
LOWA LIL Healthy Yardstick Checklist*
* based on the Show Me Yards and Neighborhoods Yardstick, which is based on the Healthy Yards for Clean Streams program

The No-Mow Yard
• A lawn vegetated with plants to need no mowing  6"
Bonus: As above, but vegetated with all native plants, add 2"
• A "lawn" with all rocks  0"
The Mow Yard
• Mow lawns high to encourage a deeper, more drought and pest tolerant root system  2"
• Sharpen mower blades monthly so grass blades heal and recover  1"
• Lawn mower engine serviced twice annually to reduce emissions contributing to air pollution.  2"
• Use an electric lawn mower instead of one powered by gasoline.  4"

Water efficiently
• Irrigate lawn and landscape only when they wilt. Apply less than 3/4 inch of water per application.  3"
• Put a rain gauge in your yard to track irrigation amounts.  2"
For a yard that uses an irrigation system (in-ground or hose-end sprinklers)
• Calibrate irrigation/sprinkler system to apply less than 3/4 inches of water.  3"
• Install a rain shut-off device for in-ground irrigation systems.  2"
• Make sure irrigation system waters lawn areas separately from plant beds. 2"
• Use drip or micro-irrigation in plant and flower beds.  2"
For a yard that does not use an irrigation system
• Design and maintain a landscape that exists predominantly on rainfall once plants are established.  6"

• Maintain a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch over tree roots, shrubs and plant beds, leaving a 2-inch space between the plant base and the mulch.  2 "
• Create self-mulching areas under trees where leaves can remain as they fall.  1"
• Use by-product mulches or recycled mulches.  1"
• Replenish mulch once or twice a year to maintain 2-3" depth.  1"

• Whenever possible, recycle grass clippings by allowing them to remain on the lawn.  2"
• Use leaves and pine needles found in your yard as mulch.  2"
• Create and maintain a compost pile with yard clippings, leaves, kitchen scraps, etc.  3"

• Plant vines, shrubs and trees that provide cover, nesting areas or food sources for birds, butterflies and other wildlife.  3"
• Provide a water source, such as a bird bath or a small pond for wildlife.  1" each, max. of 2"
• Provide wildlife shelters such as a bat house, bird house, brush pile, etc.  1" each, max. of 2"
• Identify, and show evidence of, five kinds of wildlife (insects, reptile, birds, etc.) that live in your yard.  2"

Yards pests
• Treat only affected plants or lawn areas with pesticide applications. Avoid indiscriminate spraying.  3"
• Check your landscape every 1-2 weeks for signs of problems.  2"
• Learn to identify 5 beneficial insects that provide natural control of harmful pests.  2"
• Use environmentally friendly pesticides such as horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps.  2"
• Use non-chemical approaches to pest controls, such as pruning off affected areas, hand removing insects, etc., whenever possible.  3"

Right Plant-Right Place
• Ensure that your landscape does not contain plants identified by legal code as invasive exotics such as kudzu, bush honeysuckle and winter creeper.  2"
• Replace problem-prone plants with low maintenance native or non-native species.  2"
• Landscape with native plants.  (1-4")
— A few  1"
— Less than half   2"
— More than half  3"
— All native  4"
• Group plants according to their water and maintenance needs.
• Determine how much grass you need for children, pets and recreation. Replace the rest with low maintenance ground covers, shrubs, mulch or other porous surfaces.  3"
• Use trees and shrubs to shade southern and western walls on home and air conditioner compressor.  1"
• Use deciduous trees on southern exposures to allow the sun to passively heat your home in winter.  1"
• Reduce yard waste by choosing plants that will not require frequent pruning at maturity.  1"
• Preserve native plants when building on a new site. Maintain a protective "do not disturb" barrier under the dripline of trees.  3"

• Fertilize as needed to maintain quality of lawns and landscape plants.  2"
• Determine fertilizer needs with a soil test.  2"
• Use natural organic or other slow release fertilizers.  2"
• Use iron instead of nitrogen to make your lawn green during the summer.  1"

Storm water runoff
If you live beside the Lake or a stream, double points for any of these you do. Take away the points from your total if it something you don't do.
• Direct downspouts and gutters to drain onto the lawn, plant beds or containment areas.  1"
• Plant groundcovers or use mulch on thinly vegetated areas to decrease erosion.  2"
• Use mulch, bricks, flagstones, gravel or other porous surfaces on walkways, patios or drives.  1"
• Collect and use rainwater to irrigate plants.  2"
• Create swales or terracing to catch and filter storm water.  3"
• Pick up after pets to reduce bacterial and nutrient pollution in waterways.  2"
• Clean up oil spills and leaks using cat litter on driveways.  2"
• Sweep grass clippings, fertilizer and soil from driveway onto lawn. Remove trash from street gutters and ditches.  2"

On the waterfront
Double points if you do these things. Take away the points from your total if it is something you don't do.
• Remove invasive exotic aquatic plants by cutting, pulling or raking. Remove dead plant material from water after using herbicides.  2"
• Establish a border of low maintenance plants between your lawn and the waterline to absorb nutrients and to provide wildlife habitat.  2"
• Establish a 10-30 foot "no fertilizer" zone along the waterline.  2"
• Plant native vegetation in the zone along the waterfront.  4"