As our population increases, beloved North Idaho lakes and streams are at heightened risk of pollution. However, homeowners can do a lot to protect and improve water quality through proper lawn and garden care and by landscaping with native or near-native plants that are acclimated to thrive without extra water and/or fertilizers. Soluble nutrients found in fertilizers, nitrogen and phosphorus, are beneficial to yards and gardens. Unfortunately, these nutrients cause problems when they enter lakes, rivers and streams by accelerating aquatic plant and algae growth. This can have a negative impact on waterways where we swim, fish and boat.