You can decrease the amount pollutants headed into our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.
Here are a few small actions you can take that will make a big difference:
- Turn downspouts so outflow is away from non-absorbent surfaces. Let the rain flow onto grass areas to help filter the runoff.
- Install a rain barrel and use that water to nourish your plants. Get a free rain barrel at a Rain Barrel workshop.
- Test your soil to check nutrients. You may be able to reduce the amount of fertilizer you spread.
- Always clean up after your pet. Bacteria left in your yard or common areas will have a negative effect on our waterways.
The Chesapeake Bay has more than 11,600 miles of shoreline, which is more than the entire west coast of the U.S. It is 200 miles long and ranges from 4 miles to 30 miles wide making it the largest estuary in the country. There are 8,800 miles of streams, creeks and rivers in Maryland that drain into the Chesapeake Watershed, and a few of them run through or near our neighborhoods. That means the fertilizer we spread on our lawns and gardens along with the stormwater that flows from our properties and pet waste impacts the Bay.
Howard County has a variety of projects to reduce stormwater runoff, a major source of pollutants in the Bay. In fact, 20% of the pollutants come from stormwater alone. One action to decrease pollutants in the Bay is to “slow the flow.” When stormwater has time to soak into the ground many of the nutrients stay in the soil instead of rushing into storm drains and on into creeks and streams.
The County has partnered with the University of Maryland to create the Watershed Stewards Academy. The purpose is to educate residents about the issue and to encourage action-oriented solutions to help “slow the flow.”
Contact the Watershed Stewards for assistance with additional best management practices for your property to Slow The Flow.
Thanks to Master Watershed Steward, Bob Grossman for this content.