Many folks that live on the lake have had issues with fall yard cleanup.  We ask that folks do NOT blow leaves and other yard waste into Big Cedar Lake.  If you have a service provide your fall yard cleanup, please let them know that you would like it removed or bagged up and taken away.  The Big Cedar Lake Protection & Rehabilitation District does have an ordinance restricting this type of activity in order to preserve and keep the lake beautiful. 

What some do NOT know, is that all of this type of organic matter ends up somewhere.  Winds carry this yard waste and as it breaks down, extra muck is created.  Some yards are treated with chemical fertilizers which add to the problem.  If you DO notice someone blowing leaves, grass clippings, or putting pumpkins, etc. into the lake, kindly mention that they ARE violating an ordinance. The ordinance refers to all types of littering. 

We would all like to think that we are doing everything we can to preserve the lake, but if it’s the little things that can make a difference, we ask that you do your part. 


LOWA: Don’t dump leaves in the Lake! | Lake of the Ozarks News |

LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — Dumping your leaves in the Lake may have serious, negative side-effects on the water.

The Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance (LOWA) and Ameren Missouri are recommending that property owners not dump their leaves in the Lake during their annual fall clean-up. This is because leaves have nutrients similar to fertilizer. They contain high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. According to LOWA Project Manager Caroline Toole, when leaves are naturally blown into the lake from trees on a shoreline, the Lake can handle the influx. But when many lake residents dump hillsides full of leaves into the lake, it can upset the natural ecological balance, especially in areas of high population density, like Lake of the Ozarks.

When too many leaves are dumped into the Lake it can cause an excessive amount of algae growth, and while the Lake needs some algae for a healthy food chain, too much can cause an algae bloom, turning the lake water a thick pea green color with a foul odor. Some algae can release toxins that might harm humans, animal life and fish. But even with non-toxic algae blooms, as the overabundance of algae dies, it decays, causing bacteria to use up the oxygen in the water. This can kill fish and other aquatic life, ultimately harming sport fishing and Lake tourism.

In 1999, the James River Arm of Table Rock Lake, in Branson, experienced an algae bloom that shut down tourism in the Branson lake area. Expensive additions to wastewater treatment plant equipment were finally able to remove the phosphorus out of wastewater effluent, bringing that lake back to its former healthy state.

In September 2010 the Missouri Clean Water Commission approved the Environmental Protection Agency’s placement of the Osage Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks on the 303(d) List of Impaired Waters due to that area’s high nitrogen levels. The Niangua Arm was also placed on the impaired waters list due to high phosphorus levels.

And if the aforementioned reasons were not enough, the following is typically a sufficient deterrent: dumping leaves in Missouri lakes is illegal. Violators dumping large amounts can be fined up to $10,000.

Missouri law also bans leaves from landfills, as a space-saving measure. Leaves and other yard waste should be properly disposed of at a compost facility. And for those who burn their leaves, Toole gave this reminder: “Please remember, the ashes from burning leaves are very high in nutrients, so please keep the ashes out of the lake as well.”

For those who do not wish to compost or burn their leaves, companies exist that may be hired to dispose of them. Additionally, some municipalities offer free leaf-disposal services.

Gravois Fire Protection District, GFPD, Fire Chief Ed Hancock warns property owners to use caution when burning leaves in the fall. “With all the drought we have had this summer, there is a potential for a dangerous fall burning season, depending on the amount of rainfall we get in November,” Hancock said. In spite of the significant rainfall in recent weeks, Hancock warns that a few warm days can dry everything back out. He urges property owners to take the following steps during fall burning season:

• Always call your local fire district and check if there are any warnings or advisories, and what the fire conditions are. The district monitors those daily.

• Don’t burn in high winds.

• Do not burn if the humidity is below 40 percent.

• Have tools ready to put the fire out if it gets out of hand when burning such as a rake, hose, a leaf blower, buckets and gunny sacks.

• Clear a three- to 10-foot area around the burn pile.

• Call your fire district to advise you are going to burn.  

The Town of West Bend offers options for disposal of waste and brush.

Yard Waste & Brush – Town of West Bend

The Town of Polk encourages recycling of yard waste and brush