Thursday, August 28, 2008

Do you live in a watershed area? I found out I was living in a watershed. What is a watershed? Well, as the picture illustrates above, it is land over which rain or snowmelt flow to rivers, streams, lakes, or ponds, and eventually into a larger body of water. Great illustration, huh? I think I see an ape scratching its head...anyway, it is important to know if you live in a watershed because whatever we do to the land, we do to the water.

So, I wanted to know what I could do to lessen my impact on the riverways. I contacted my local watershed council, the Blackstone Watershed, and got some great insight on their projects and goals to developing the watershed in a sustainable and environmental way, and literature about what I could specifically do to reduce polluted runoff into the water, and more importantly, why? Very straightforward and easily remedied.
  1. Limit the use of fertilizer and pesticides. When they are washed into stormdrains, they harm aquatic life. My suggestion, use the organic choice fertilizers or chemicals that do not harm children, pets, and water quality.
  2. Dispose your dog waste properly. Dog poop is raw sewage that could be washed into waterstreams if not picked up. It should be disposed of in the toilet or trash can. Like I mentioned in a previous entry, use biodegradable poop bags or newspaper.
  3. Redirect rooftop runoff to vegetated areas or collect in rain barrels. That was one thing I convinced my dad to do, install a rain barrel. Now, you could buy those bendy gutter attachments so you can control where the rain goes. Keeping rainwater on site reduces runoff and even better, irrigate your landscaping with free water!
  4. Use non-toxic biodegradable cleaners. They are gaining more popularity thanks to consumer demand, and are sometimes cheaper than products we have grown up on. Use no-phosphate diswashing detergent because phosphates accelerate plant growth in waterways.

I am proud to be part of my historic watershed, and I think if we follow what the experts say we could do to prevent polluted water, let's do it! Like I always say, the choices we make only affect everyone else. They will follow.

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