A Simple Solutions to Protect our Waterways
Litter: Deliberately or accidentally litter finds its way into our waterways causing harm to the health of wildlife and humans. Solutions to this problem are easy:
o Participate in a stream clean-up with your local watershed, school, church or other social group. When you see litter in a parking lot, in a gutter, or anywhere else pick it up and throw it away immediately. Even if you didn’t drop the trash, each of us has a responsibility to help reduce the problem.
o If you see someone dumping their garbage illegally or littering in Franklin County jot down the License plate number, make/model of vehicle, description of person, time, date, location of littering and call Nail a Dumper (link) at 614-872-5322.
o If you would like to coordinate a stream clean up, or label stormdrains with a ‘no dumping, drains to creek’ seal, the following organizations can help!
SWACO adopt-a-roadway: 614-871-5100
Keep Franklin County Beautiful:
Keep Columbus Beautiful: 645-8027
Green Products: Green products have recently become more available than ever before. Cleaners we use in our bathtubs, toilets, sinks, laundry and other areas around the house ultimately can end up back into our water system making it more difficult to remove these toxins from our drinking water. Using natural cleaners sold at most retailers can reduce this problem while making your indoor air quality healthier.
o Reduce or eliminate lawn fertilizers and pesticides, even if you don’t live close to a waterway. If you do use them, make sure you’re using the recommended amounts and do not over fertilize your lawn. These pollutants can travel through the ground or onto the street and into the stormdrain which will lead directly to our rivers, streams and lakes.
o Avoid hosing down your driveway, sidewalks or street, and avoid power washing your house or deck. This will prevent any oil, chemicals, dirt and debris from washing into the stormdrain on your street.
o Conserve! Over-watering can wash fertilizers, pesticides, motor oil, and other pollutants directly into our waterways. Proper irrigation practices can save you time and money, as well as protect our waterways. Plant drought-tolerant native plants to reduce irrigation needs or use a rain barrel to collect rainwater, irrigate your landscape and save money.
Collecting the Rain
o Rain Barrels: Rain Barrels are above-ground containers used to collect rain that accumulates quickly on your rooftop and route that water into the container for reuse instead of taking the rain water to the street where it will rush to our streams carrying with it pollutants and causing erosion of our stream banks.
Central Ohio Rain Barrel Suppliers: Rain Brothers (contact info and link) and Urban Gardener (contact info and link)
o Rain Gardens: Rain gardens are much like rain barrels only the water from your gutters is routed into a garden planted with natives which has been designed to hold water rather than let water flow off like a traditional raised flower bed. The water is then able to soak into the ground reducing the amount of water rushing to our streams during a rain event. For more information contact Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District or visit: (http://www.franklinswcd.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=46&Itemid=117)
Interested in the Rain Garden movement in central Ohio? The Central Ohio Rain Garden Initiative is now meeting contact Stephanie Suter with Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District to join.
Pet Waste: When you walk your pets, carry a bag for the removal of waste. Pet waste contributes to the overabundance of nutrients in streams which causes algae growth blocking sunlight from other stream life.
Oils: Keep your car well maintained to prevent fluid leakage.
Bottled Water: Bottled water provides an illusion of safe, clean, refreshing water; however, many companies selling bottled water are simply filtering city water and packaging it. City water is usually just as safe, clean and refreshing as something you could buy in a bottle and costs $X less per gallon! Learn more about the bottled water debate here:
• Food and Water Watch
Get Involved! Join your local watershed group. Each group works year-round to protect its stream through planning, outreach and education and more. (link to watershed group map w/ links currently on greenways site http://greenways.morpc.org/Watersheds.htm )
Education: Continually seek out information on how you make an impact on the world and share that knowledge with your friends and family. If each of us does a little to improve the quality of our natural environment, our efforts will add up to a big change to benefit our community.