Natural Resources

Natural Resources

Conservation Stewards Program participantsMSU Extension-Oakland provides learning experiences about taking care of the water, soil and plants that represent the quality of life in Oakland County.  We offer workshops, seminars and classes on lakescaping and maintaining an environmentally friendly yard.  The Conservation Stewards Program provides opportunities for learning and volunteering.

MSU Extension-Oakland County offers a variety of resources, educational programs, services, and volunteer training programs in natural resource and ecosystem management, agriculture, conservation, and environmental stewardship.

MSU Extension-Oakland offers the following programs, resources and services related to natural resources:

Residential Resource Management

Conservation Stewards volunteers discussing shoreline managementMichigan is home to a wonderful diverse set of environmental resources.  The Home*A*Syst assessment guide contains essential topics that every homeowner or resident should understand.  These resources will help you identify risks to your family's health or pollution threats to the environment around your home and property.

Potential pollution sources in and around the home can affect the health of your family, community and environment.  Home*A*Syst is a self-assessment guide you can use to evaluate your home and property for pollution and health risks.  After identifying potential risks, you will learn how to better manage your home and property as well as take preventive actions to safeguard your health and the environment.  Home*A*Syst covers 12 different environmental topics.  Individual chapters are listed below.

  • Chapter 1: Site Assessment: Protecting Water Quality around Your Home
    Chapter 2: Managing Household Trash: Preventing Waste, Reusing, Recycling and Composting
    Chapter 3: Managing Hazardous Household Products
    Chapter 4: Lead in and around the Home: Identifying and Managing its Sources
    Chapter 5: Indoor Air Quality: Reducing Health Risks and Improving the Air You Breathe
    Chapter 6: Energy Savings for Your Home
    Chapter 7: Managing Stormwater around Your Home
    Chapter 8: Conserving Water around Your Home
    Chapter 9: Caring for the Yard and Garden
    Chapter 10: Protecting Your Drinking Water Well
    Chapter 11: Managing Household Wastewater: Septic Systems and Other Treatment Methods
    Chapter 12: Managing Liquid Fuels Safely: Gasoline, Heating Oil, Diesel and Other Fuels

Managing Your Septic System 
This convenient record file folder contains information that will help you manage your septic system.  It also provides a place to record and store vital information about your system.  It should be kept with other documents about your home and property.

Michigan Water Stewardship Program
The Michigan Water Stewardship Program (MWSP) is a partnership of organizations that have developed a set of online educational resources for adults, youth and educators to help identify and reduce contamination risks to water and the environment. Several interactive features encourage individuals to take voluntary proactive steps to protect Michigan's water resources and safeguard their health.



Lake and Pond Management 

Lakes are complex ecosystems and can be difficult to manage.  The loss of shoreline vegetation due to development down to the water's edge, particularly in the critical shoreline area, is an increasing problem around Michigan lakes.  It is important to understand how lakes work before they can be managed.  The following resources offer information that is helpful in understanding lake and pond management.


Lake Management Resources

Landscaping for Water Quality

MDEQ Management of Aquatic Plants

Michigan Boater's Guide to Selected Invasive Aquatic Plants

Michigan's Inland Lake Shorelines

Michigan Inland Lakes Partnership

Michigan Lake and Stream Association

Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership

Natural Shoreline for Inland Lakes

North American Lake Management Society, Michigan Chapter

Protecting Michigan's Vanishing Native Lakeshore

The Water's Edge


Pond Management Resources

Frequently Asked Questions on Pond Management

Managing Ponds for Sport Fishing 

Ponds - Planning, Design, Construction


Volunteer Lake Monitoring Programs

Clean Boats, Clean Water

Lake and Stream Leader's Institute 

Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) -  MiCorps is a network of volunteer monitoring programs in Michigan.  It was created through an executive order by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm to assist the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE) in collecting and sharing water quality data for use in water resources management and protection programs.

 Native and Invasive Species (aquatic and land)

Following are resources identifying and managing both native species as well as invasive species:


Native species are those found in Michigan natural communities prior to the European settlement.  These species have evolved and adapted to local conditions over thousands of years and provide critical habitat to other species.

Native Aquatic Species

Native Plant Species



Gypsy moth caterpillarSince the first European settlers began arriving on the North American continent hundreds of new species of plants, animals and pathogens have been either intentionally or accidentally introduced.  Although many have been incorporated into the landscape with little or no effect, others are more aggressive and threaten both species and landscapes.  These more aggressive species, that have the ability to impact other species and landscapes, are called invasive species.  Why should I care? 

Invasive Species Reference Guides

For information about native or invasive species contact MSU Extension-Oakland County at 248-858-0902. 

Conservation Stewarts Proram (CSP)         

 Volunteer training in your community -  Please contact Cathy Morris at 248-858-1639 to be notified when registration materials are available for the next Conservation Stewards Program.. 

Oil and Gas Exploration

For further information, please contact MSU Extension-Oakland County, 248-858-1639.

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