Lake Steward Program

Click here to Take the Lake Steward Quiz

Take the “Are You a Lake Steward Quiz” to see how well you are protecting Minnesota’s lakes from your own backyard – and steps you can take to improving your impact on the environment

The Lake Steward Program is a program designed for Lake Association use to encourage shoreline restoration projects among its members, and to educate about sustainable land management as it relates to water quality.

Many lakeshore homeowners are unaware of the devastating effects an unnatural shoreline can have on lake health and water quality.

Read the 10 Tips to Lake Stewardship by Minnesota Lakes and River Advocates


the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property.
“responsible stewardship of our public lands”

Becoming a Lake Steward with Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates recognizes an individual’s personal responsibility for their environment, and the care they are taking to preserve natural resources in Minnesota.

Our Lake Steward Program provides the resources necessary to educate lakeshore homeowners on environmental sustainability through proper shoreline maintenance, and facilitates shoreline restoration projects with materials personalized for each region.

After a shoreline has been restored to a healthy and native landscape, Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates awards a “Lake Steward” sign to the property owner. The Lake Steward sign is a badge of honor for lakeshore property owners, shows their personal appreciation of the environment, and awards efforts to preserve Minnesota’s lakes.

Results from the Gull Chain of Lakes Association (Lake Steward of GCOLA), show that members care deeply about their lake and water quality; they were simply waiting for an opportunity to act.  Of 614 members contacted to asses their lakeshore property, hundreds have done so by using Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates “Are You a Lake Steward?” quiz. In only 2 seasons, 51 Lake Stewards have been awarded, and there are currently more than 72 owners working to become a Lake Steward. 

Over 2 and a half miles of shoreline have been protected in just two years.

The Lake Steward Program is open to all MN Lake Associations that are current members of MLR.

If you are a member of a Lake Association that wants to participate in MLR’s Lake Steward Program:
contact Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates Program Manager and Civic Organizer, Lily Carr –

The Lake Steward Program helps Lake Associations meet Shoreline Protection Goals

Through the Lake Steward Program, Lake Associations Volunteers complete a short training session with Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates to get started in the program.

Benefits of your Association’s enrollment in the Lake Steward Program:

  • Access to volunteer training with Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates, and ability to receive direct support and feedback throughout the Lake Steward Program
  • Data collection for the Lake Steward Program to track lake association improvements and help meet goals for shoreline protection
  • Ability to order the “Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates: Shoreland Guide to Lake Stewardship” – an in-depth explanation of how individual property and land management can affect the health and water quality of your lake, and how to make recommended changes in protection of the environment
  • Resources to help expand lake association involvement, and increase responses and involvement in the Lake Steward Program
  • Access to an online Shoreline Evaluation tool for the use of Lake Steward Volunteers to facilitate shoreline evaluations and track progress in the program – including a photo guide of native plants and vegetation to help plan shoreline restoration projects and evaluate shorelines
  • Lake Steward Awards that can be gifted to individuals who protect their shoreline through the Lake Steward Program – MLR pays half the cost, so your members can enjoy their signs more easily

Now Available to Our Lake Steward Partners:

The Shoreland Guide to Lake Stewardship is an excellent resource for owners who have taken the “Are You a Lake Steward” quiz and are considering steps to meet Lake Steward criteria. The management strategies presented in this book can catch and filter 90% of the runoff pollution from your property and into the lake. Owners can take some steps, or take a deep dive into shoreland management. All reductions in phosphorus will help protect water quality. Together we will stop the degradation of our lakes. Click here to view on Amazon.

Videos for Lake Steward Volunteers:
Why Lake Stewards Works/How to Start Up Lake Stewards for Your Lake

Lake Steward Volunteer Tool Kit

To see a video of Dorothy Whitmer talking about the Lake Steward Program on Gull Chain of Lakes – CLICK HERE