There are many ways you and your and your household can be a good neighbor to our streams and help prevent and reduce pollution into our watershed. From implementing trout and stream-friendly landscaping practices to using environmentally conscious land care services to monitoring waste, each of us can contribute to keeping our waterways clean and healthy.
BE MINDFUL ABOUT FERTILIZING
Many of us over-fertilize our lawns without knowing it.Read More
- The first thing you can do to help ensure your fertilizer is not harming the environment is to switch from chemical to slow-release organic fertilizers.
- If you think your lawn will not thrive with organic fertilizer, perform a soil test to determine what type and how much fertilizer should be used.
- Do not apply fertilizer right before a runoff-producing heavy rain or when the ground is frozen, to prevent fertilizer from being washed into storm drains and ending up in our streams and lakes. In Jackson, this often means fertilizer is not needed or effective until June!
- Sweep up spilled fertilizer from driveways, sidewalks and curbs to prevent fertilizer from being washed into storm drains and streams.
- Do not apply fertilizer within 20 feet of any body of water.
RETHINK STREAMSIDE LANDSCAPING
Wetlands and riverbank areas typically occur as natural buffers between uplands and adjacent water bodies. They act as natural filters of nonpoint source pollutants including sediment, nutrients, pathogens, and metals to waterbodies such as rivers, streams, and lakes.Read More
- Streams, ponds and bodies of water need a minimum of a 20 feet vegetated buffer area to help reduce the excess runoff of nutrients from the fertilized and managed areas.
- Keep or replant the native trees, shrubs, and other native plants along the streambank. This riparian vegetation prevents erosion, reduces flood impacts, and shades the water to keep temperatures low.
- Tell your lawn care professional that you support environmentally friendly landscaping practices.
BE WATER WISE
Water deeply and less often. Over-watering is a common mistake that wastes precious water, money, time and effort. It also encourages shallow root growth, promotes weeds, and washes essential nutrients from the soil.Read More
- Mow your lawn to a height of 3-4 inches for strong roots, fewer weeds and less evaporation. Leave short grass clippings on the lawn as natural fertilizer.
- Water at dawn or dusk and only as needed.
- Use a rain sensor to turn off irrigation systems when it is raining.
SAY NO TO PESTICIDES
Pesticides should be the last resort because they can be toxic to fish, wildlife, and pets.Read More
If you must use pesticides outside your house, on the lawn and in the garden, it is important to use them according to the instructions on the label to prevent the pesticides from entering water resources.
MAINTAIN YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM
Regular septic system maintenance will save homeowner money and protect their property value by preventing costly repairs. Regular maintenance not only protects you and your neighbor’s health, it protects our streams and rivers from excessive nutrients.Read More
- Inspect and Pump Frequently: The average household septic system should be inspected regularly by a septic service professional to determine if it is operating correctly and if it needs to be pumped.
- Use Water Efficiently: All of the water a household sends down its pipes winds up in its septic system. Efficient water use can not only improve the operation of a septic system, but it can reduce the risk of failure as well.
- Toilets are not Trash Cans: Don’t flush anything besides human waste and toilet paper.
- Think at the Sink – Your septic system contains a collection of living organisms that digest and treat household waste. Pouring toxins down your drain can kill these organisms and harm your septic system.
- Use phosphate-free detergents and cleansers.
- Avoid chemical drain openers for a clogged drain. Instead, use boiling water or a drain snake.
- Never pour cooking oil or grease down the drain!
- Never pour oil-based paints, solvents, or large volumes of toxic cleaners down the drain. Even latex paint waste should be minimized.
- Eliminate or limit the use of a garbage disposal, which will significantly reduce the amount of fats, grease, and solids that enter your septic tank and ultimately clog its drain field.
- Maintain your Drain Field – a component of your septic system that removes contaminants from the liquid that emerges from your septic tank—is an important part of your septic system.
- Never park or drive on your drain field.
- Never pave over your drain field.
- Plant trees the appropriate distance from your drain field to keep roots from growing into your septic system.
- Keep roof drains, sump pumps, and other rainwater drainage systems away from your drain field area.
DO YOU NEED TO REPLACE YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM?
Nutrients (especially nitrogen and phosphorus) from inadequate septic systems play a major role in causing excessive weed and algae growth in ponds and streams and can contribute to elevated nitrate levels in drinking water well supplies.Read More
- Participate in community sewer treatment plant, if available.
- Replace or upgrade your septic system. Although this alternative is costly, sometimes it is the only alternative – especially when your system is undersized because of conversion from a seasonal residence to year-round use, and/or increasing the number of residents than the original system was designed for.
- If you’re building a new home inquire to find out if you can connect to a sewer treatment plant. If this is not an option, install an “alternative” or “advanced” treatment system.
REMOVE & STORE SNOW PROPERLY
Snow accumulations removed from roadways, bridges, and parking lots should be placed in upland areas only, where sand and other debris will remain after snowmelt for later removal.Read More
Care must be exercised not to deposit snow in the following areas:
- Freshwater or in areas immediately adjacent to such areas
- On top of storm drain catch basins
- In storm drainage swales
- On stream or river banks which slope toward the water
- In areas within at least 100 feet of private or public drinking water well supplies
MANAGE PET WASTE
Proper pet waste disposal removes raw waste from the environment that would have otherwise been washed into our waterways. Dispose of waste in trash receptacles or non-consumptive composting areas on all public and private properties.Read More
- Proper pet disposal should include disposing of waste in trash receptacles or non-consumptive composting areas.
- Pet wastes should be cleaned up and removed from all public and private properties.
- Improper pet waste disposal causes excess nutrients to enter our watershed, particularly during spring snow melts and in stormwater runoff.