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Every time it rains some of the water enters the ground, but the rest of the precipitation runs off over the land surface directly into streams, rivers, and lakes. This is known as stormwater runoff and the land area that drains to these bodies of water is called a watershed. If left unchecked, stormwater can lead to flooding and polluted waterways.

Everything that happens in this watershed – development, pollution, erosion, flooding – has the potential to affect the health and stability of our water, so proper stormwater management and watershed protection is essential.

To ensure water quality in the city is maintained and enhanced, negative stormwater impacts are minimized, and state and federal requirements are satisfied using a variety of methods:

  • Watershed Planning: Using watershed as a framework for managing land use and developing large scale solutions to regional stormwater quantity and quality problems.
  • Development Requirements: Addressing stormwater impacts of new development and redevelopment through stormwater management requirements and minimum standards.
  • Erosion & Sediment Control: Controlling erosion and soil loss from construction and post-construction areas and resulting downstream sedimentation.
  • Floodplain Management: Preserving the function of floodplain areas to reduce flood hazards, minimize risks to human life and property, and reduce modifications to streams and protect water quality.

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves…and Healthy Streams

What do leaves have to do with the health of our streams? It is not uncommon for leaves to be blown or swept into the street, drainage ditch or storm drains. They are then washed into local streams where bacteria cause the leaves to decay and release phosphorus. This bacterial action and release of phosphorus can lead to a decrease in the water oxygen levels necessary to support the survival of fish and aquatic life.

What can I do to help? Don’t blow or sweep leaves into the street, storm drain or drainage ditches. Instead, consider composting the old leaves. You’ll save our streams and your garden will benefit from all the rich compost you are able to produce! You’ll also save money in sanitation costs.

Top Ten Things You Can Do To Be A “Solution To Stormwater Pollution”

       1. Never dump anything down a storm drain or into a drainage ditch.
       2. Recycle motor oil and other vehicle fluids.
       3. Throw litter in its place.
       4. Clean up after your pet.
       5. Check your vehicles for leaks (repair them!).
       6. Reduce the amount of household hazardous waste generated at home.
       7. Compost yard clippings.
       8. Use fertilizer and pesticide only when needed (Read the label!).
       9. If you wash your vehicle at home, do so on the lawn rather than the pavement.
     10. Tell a friend or neighbor about how to prevent stormwater pollution and get involved in your community.