Everyone loves a beautiful yard. Everyone loves beautiful rivers and lakes. Clean rivers and lakes are important to providing vital fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, educational opportunities, and beauty. Unfortunately yard work, landscaping, and gardening can contribute to river and lake pollution. Through inattention or carelessness lawn clippings, leaves, soil, pet waste, pesticides and fertilizer can be carried by rain water into our local rivers and lakes. The gutters along our City streets lead to storm drains that flow directly to local rivers and lakes; what you do in and around your yard and garden has a direct impact on your local waterways. Follow these tips and help our local rivers and lakes today.
Fertilizer & Pesticides
- Use mulch or compost rather than fertilizer for healthier plants. Benefits include holding moisture longer, helping prevent weeds, and saving money.
- If you must use fertilizer, do so sparingly. Excess fertilizer can wash into our waterways and increase algae growth, which results in decreased oxygen in the water for fish to use.
- Consider chemical-free pest control options on your property.
- Never apply pesticides or fertilizer prior to a rain storm. Check the forecast and plan your yard work during dry weather.
- Store fertilizers, pesticides and any other yard chemicals in the garage or a shed.
- Leftover fertilizer and pesticides can be shared with a neighbor or disposed of at the Household Toxics Facility.
- Sweep or rake grass clippings, leaves and yard waste, and dispose of in your waste container.
- Do not hose down the sidewalk, driveway, or gutter after working in the yard.
- Excess dirt from a garden should be swept into landscape areas only.
- Fix or update poorly operating sprinklers. Watering the sidewalk instead of your lawn wastes money and water and washes contaminants into our rivers and lakes.
- Keep as much of your yard landscaped as possible. Landscaped areas absorb more rain water than unplanted soils. Healthy plants and soil cleans the rain water as it absorbs into the ground.
- The chemicals used to create bright attractive bark mulch also leach toxins into the storm drain system. Limit the use of these products and locate them away from the street gutters and yard drains.
Compost for Clean Water
Composting yard waste is an environmentally sound way of reducing solid waste by recycling a useful resource. To prevent garden clippings and yard waste from flowing into the storm water system, place them in a yard waste container or create a compost pile in your yard. Do not sweep piles of leaves into the gutter, debris piles swept into gutters will flow into local waterways.