Extension Logo
Extension Logo
University of Minnesota Extension

Limiting impact of recreation on water quality

Quick facts

Poor water quality can affect:

  • Recreation in and on the water.
  • Degrade fish and wildlife habitat.
  • Pose a health risk for water-contact recreation.
  • Threaten the safety of your drinking water supply.
Panorama of lake in the evening with rushes up front.

Recreational opportunities are a primary reason people choose to live by or visit Minnesota lakes and rivers. The recreation demand is always increasing and that increases the potential for damage to water quality, particularly when it focuses on the waterfront. You can help minimize damage by practicing stewardship as you enjoy outdoor activities on your property.

Remembering to act with care helps preserve water quality for fish and wildlife habitat as well as for our own recreational purposes.

    There's a natural balance that has developed over time in the waterfront environment. Water, land, vegetation and wildlife are all closely linked. This delicate balance is easily disrupted when humans rearrange the shoreland area or when any of the components are destroyed.

    Keeping your lake or river healthy


    Your investment and costs

    Planning and maintaining a healthy waterfront is far less costly than trying to fix a disturbed system and benefits are far greater. Repairing shoreline damage is rarely successful and often impossible.

    Permit fees

    For some shoreline modification projects, you'll need a permit. Fees for permits vary. Contact the DNR Area Hydrologist for more information.

    Fees for many recreational licenses help enhance Minnesota's water-based recreation through educational programs, research, fish stocking, trails and access development, and habitat protection.

    Your investment in Minnesota's water resources will pay off in returns to you and future generations through enhanced recreation and improved wildlife habitat.

    Regulations that apply


    Reviewed in 2020

    Page survey

    © 2023 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.