Managing and Protecting Water Around Your Home
Did you know proper care of your lawn and garden can help protect your local waterways such as streams, rivers and lakes? It's true! No matter where you live, you are part of a connected water system called a watershed. A watershed is an area of land that drains rain and snow into a common body of water such as a stream, river, or lake. This means that in Northeast Ohio the water that leaves your property will end up in local streams, and eventually into Lake Erie or the Ohio River.
Excess lawn and landscape nutrients and pesticides can turn into pollutants, when they are washed off into our waterways. This polluted runoff can harm or kill plants and animals that depend on that waterway for their habitat. Humans are also affected by increasing the cost to clean the water for drinking and recreational use, such as fishing, swimming and other water activities.
The Solution Begins at Home
You can do your part to help out with this problem. Be a "Conservation Crusader" and consider implementing these simple steps into the lawn and gardens at your home.
*Plant Natives! Most native plants require less watering and supplements to grow because they are adapted to local conditions. Also consider planting a rain garden which is designed to help water filter into the ground to help clean and reduce stormwater run off.
*Compost and properly dispose of yard waste! Help reduce debris that enters and decays in our waterways. Large amounts of decomposing organic matter (such as leaves or grass clippings) reduce the oxygen content of a waterway which can lead to poor water quality and fish kills.
*Harvest rainwater! Rain barrels can be used to capture some of the water that falls on your rooftop - diverting it away from the storm sewer system and allowing it to be reused as water for your plants and lawn.
*Mow high! Keep your grass at 3 ½ inches or higher. This will help water soak into your lawn better, and shade out weeds, reducing the need for weed killers.
*Use lawn and garden chemicals correctly! Follow instructions on packaging closely to avoid using more than what is needed and avoid application when wet weather is in the forecast. Also have your soil tested to help determine how much, if any, added nutrients are needed.
*Clean off hard surfaces! Sweep excess grass and fertilizers and other debris from sidewalks and driveways back on to lawns and landscaping to prevent it from being washed down the storm drain.
*Only rain down the storm drain! Never put grass clippings, pet waste or other products down the storm drain, they often lead directly to local waterways!
For more information on what you can do to help manage and protect the water around your home, contact your local county Soil and Water Conservation District. http://www.ohiodnr.com/Default.aspx?alias=www.ohiodnr.com/soilandwater