There are many things you can do to protect the health of your streams and prevent flooding issues downstream!
As storm water runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, curb gutters), it accumulates debris, oils, greases, chemicals, sediments, or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is discharged without being treated.
Most storm water runoff is not treated for water quality before it reaches a ditch, stream, or river. However, there are many things that you can do to help!
The Montgomery SWCD has a variety of programs that will help you to improve the quality of the water as well as reducing the amount of storm water that leaves your property. There are also little habits that you can change that add up to big results. Many of them are very simple!
Rain barrel: Install a rain barrel on your property. These systems collect rain water for you to use later, reducing the amount of storm water each rain adds to our waterways. The collected water is wonderful to use watering lawns or gardens on a later sunny day! You can order a rain barrel from the Montgomery SWCD here!
Keep the soil 'undercover': If you have bare soil in your yard or around your house, apply mulch or plant it to keep it in place. Protected soil won't wash or blow away. This makes for cleaner water as well as better growing in your yard and garden!
Install a 'Rain Garden': No, you're not growing rain. Rain Gardens are landscaped areas built to temporarily hold rain water and allow it to soak into the ground slowly, instead of running off quickly as storm water. They are planted with native plants that like to grow in occasionally wet conditions and can be very attractive in a landscape! Are you ready to get started? The Rain Garden Guidelines for Southwest Ohio by OSU Extension and Rain Garden Manual for Homeowners by Geauga SWCD are great places to start learning and planning!
Clean-up after your pets: Don't leave Fido's 'business' lay. Plan ahead on walks, pick up after your pet, and dispose of their deposits correctly. It may not seem like much, but each little bit adds up to a stinky and unhealthy problem!
Wash your car at a carwash or where the water can soak into the grass: The soap and grime, as well as any oil that washes off your car will be filtered by the grass instead of flowing into the waterways.
Fertilize only if necessary, and check the weather first. Nutrients not used by your lawn will fertilize our waterways, leading to algae problems and the potential for fish kills. The river doesn't need your fertilizer!
Don't put anything down a storm drain: Only rain in storm drains! Storm drains are not cleaned, so anything that goes down them makes its way to our waterways.
Plant native plants: Not only are they better for birds, butterflies and other wildlife, but once established, our native plants don't need watering and fertilizer like the non-native plants that make up most yards. They are better for wildlife and water quality!
If you are interested in partnering with the Montgomery SWCD or have other questions, please contact us at MontgomerySWCD@mcohio.org or call our office at (937) 854-7645.