The Columbia Association will consider a framework for a plan to protect Columbia's waterways from erosion and pollution at its next board meeting this month.
The watershed management framework, approved by the association's external relations committee last week, calls for a volunteer from each of Columbia's 10 villages to be on an advisory panel to help guide the process.
Then the framework would be developed into a comprehensive plan.
"Our watershed plan is really going to have to be part of a bigger plan," said Henry Dagenais, chairman of the external relations committee. "Everyone has to be involved when you start this. It's like recycling - everyone's got to do it."
Dredging two of Columbia's lakes is expected to cost more than $10 million. The plan is to pump out about 170,000 cubic yards of sediment from 27-acre Lake Kittamaqundi, built in 1967, and 37-acre Lake Elkhorn, built in 1974, which are being overwhelmed with sediment.
That sediment carries nutrients that foster algae growth in the lakes.
Environmental analysts have said that developers and homeowners will need to preserve vegetation on their property and create landscapes that absorb storm water and reduce the amount of fertilizer entering the watershed for preservation to be successful.
"You'll have to have a lot of public education about what you can do to stop erosion and stop pollution," Dagenais said. "We know it's going to take some time. But it has to start somewhere."