In addition, yard clippings and leaves can wash into stormdrains and contribute nutrients and organic matter to streams.
SIMPLE TIPS TO REDUCE LANDSCAPE RUNOFF:
Around your Yard
- Use pesticides and fertilizers sparingly! Always follow directions and never add more than directions call for.
- If lawn treatment is necessary, use organic fertilizer whenever possible. Organic or slow-release nitrogen fertilizer causes less harm to water. Also make sure to use fertilizer with no or low phosphorus, as phosphorus causes algae growth.
- Compost or mulch yard waste. Don’t leave it in the street or sweep it into storm drains or streams.
- Cover piles of dirt or mulch being used in landscaping projects.
Fertilizers are made of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. When it rains, these nutrients are carried by stormwater into the nearest stream, river, or other water body. Too many nutrients in water can cause algae to grow, which can deplete oxygen and hurt aquatic wildlife – and make boating, fishing and swimming unpleasant.
- Rain Gardens and Grassy Swales—Specially designed areas planted with native plants can provide natural places for rainwater to collect and soak into the ground. Rain from rooftop areas or paved areas can be diverted into these areas rather than into storm drains.
- Vegetated Filter Strips—Filter strips are areas of native grass or plants created along roadways or streams. They trap the pollutants stormwater picks up as it flows across driveways and streets.
- Rain Barrels—You can collect rainwater from rooftops in mosquito-proof containers. The water can be used later on lawn or garden areas.
- Make sure that sprinkler heads are pointed at the lawn and not the pavement – adjust and fix heads as necessary.
- Upgrade to a moisture sensor to ensure irrigating only when needed, and avoid using old-fashioned irrigation timers.
- Don’t over water your lawn. One inch of water a week is all that’s necessary to keep a lawn green.
- Avoid irrigating when it’s windy to reduce water loss through evaporation.
Traditional asphalt and concrete contribute to stormwater runoff by preventing water from soaking into the ground. Rain water flows over these impervious surfaces, collects pollutants along the way, and flows into storm drains and streams.
- Use permeable materials such as pavers, bricks, crushed stone, and mulch when building walkways, patios, and driveways. Permeable materials allow rain and snow melt to soak through them, thereby decreasing stormwater runoff.