For most, hearing a creek flow over cobbles and viewing the wildlife present along its banks delivers a reviving feeling. Here in the Rogue Valley, there are many opportunities to absorb the peacefulness that is provided by its natural areas. However, in order for creeks, rivers, and lakes to continue providing these opportunities, uninhibited, we all must play a role in preserving, maintaining, and restoring our local waterways.
To keep our waterways clear of excess algae and overbearing aquatic plant growth, we as homeowners can adopt Stream Smart yard and garden behaviors, such as: mowing high, mulching lawn clippings, using the appropriate amount of fertilizer in the correct place, properly disposing of yard waste, installing efficient irrigation systems, and removing turf and replacing it with native plants.
We love our dogs and going for walks with them, but we don’t always, if ever, enjoy picking up their poop. Pet waste that does not get picked up often gets washed into the storm drainage system, which empties into the nearest waterway untreated following rain events. With enough pet waste present in creeks and rivers, the water becomes contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can threaten human health. On your next walk, remember to bring a bag, bag it up, and dispose of it in the nearest trash can.
Using “Earth-Friendly” cleaning supplies instead of conventional cleaners can keep harmful chemicals out of our waterways. While conventional cleaners will first enter wastewater treatment facilities, these chemicals are not always completely removed from the water before being emptied back into our rivers. Some “Earth-Friendly” suppliers include: Planet Earth, Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers Clean Day, and ECOS, which can be found at most grocery stores and online at Grove Collaborative.
While car maintenance is not a particularly welcome way of spending money, by responding to oil, coolant, and transmission fluid leaks, less of these fluids are able to reach our local waterways. Additionally, the actions that you take when washing your car can impact water quality. To protect our waterways, follow these suggestions: wash over a permeable surface, such as gravel or your lawn, limit the amount of water used, or take your vehicle to a car wash facility, such as Wash N’ Go Depot, Crater Car Wash, or Yellow Submarine Car Wash.
If we want to ensure the continued feeling of serenity in the presence of our local creeks, rivers, and lakes, it is important that we adopt these actions. Take a pledge to do your part and be Stream Smart: www.stream-smart.com/pledges. For more information about Stream Smart: A Rogue Basin Clean Water Project, visit: www.stream-smart.com.
By Amie Siedlecki