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Deer Lake Association
A member of the Minnesota Lakes Association

2023 DLA Shoreland Initiative

The Deer Lake Challenge


Deer Lake water quality is approaching a critical threshold.  Unfortunately, Deer Lake has lost up to 8’ of water clarity during the past six years.  Here’s how you can help reverse this trend.

Rain, storm, and other water runoff and shoreline erosion delivers phosphorus and other nutrients directly into Deer Lake.  Phosphorus reduces water clarity, and drives algae and undesirable weed growth.  Deer Lake is highly sensitive to additional phosphorus.  For example, just 100 lbs. of additional phosphorus would decrease water clarity by 9” throughout the entire lake.

A great way to help conserve Deer Lake water quality is to maintain existing natural shoreline and ice-ridges.  Ice ridges are the “hump” that many Deer Lake property owners see at their shorelines.  Ice ridges and natural shoreline are excellent water filtration systems, trapping and filtering run-off.  For properties where ice-ridges and/or native shoreline has been removed or breached, owners can add a beautiful natural buffer and low-berm near our shorelines.  Buffers and low-berms filter phosphorus and other nutrients from snowmelt, rain, and stormwater before they run into the lake. 

COST-SHARES for projects are available!!


How can you help?  Take the Deer Lake Challenge!  You can participate in one of two ways:

  1. Deer Lake Challenge Self-AssessmentDLA offers a simple two-page FREE guide to help you think through how your shoreline impacts Deer Lake.  You can view or download a copy here: DeerLakeChallenge or request a copy from DLA  
  2. Deer Lake Challenge Shoreland VisitDLA offers a local, objective expert -- someone not trying to sell you something – who will visit your property at a time convenient for you, listen to your recreational goals, review your current situation, then offer shoreland ideas that both meet your goals and minimize runoff and erosion.  This service is FREE to you.  And no obligation. 


Either way, property owners who complete the Deer Lake Challenge are eligible to receive and encouraged to display a free Deer Lake Challenge sign meant to increase awareness of DLA’s Shoreland Initiative.


DLA invites you to take the Deer Lake Challenge.  Contact to request a Shoreland Visit or to request a full-size copy of the Deer Lake Challenge self-assessment, or simply print this link:



The Minnesota DNR and other State Agencies make availble many web pages and brochures about Shoreland  Restoration, Protection and Stewardship. See these links:

The Deer Lake Property Owner's Handbook

Itasca County Guide to Lake Stweardship

Freshwater Society Lake Protection and Management Guide

DNR Score Your Shore

DNR Shoreland Alteration Information (information sheets)

DNR Shoreland Management Program

DNR Shoreland Guidance Series (legal and variances)

UM Extension: Water (home)

One Watershed, One Plan


Your individual action may make the difference to Deer Lake.  Thank you.


Maintaining forested shoreline and ice-ridges or adding a simple buffer and low-berm on your property will do wonders for Deer Lake water quality.  But if you'd like to see a Deer Lake shoreline restored in spectacular fashion, check-out this 3 min drone video: