This May, join Puget Sound Starts Here in their mission to protect one of the Pacific Northwest’s most important water bodies! Check out these four simple, easy suggestions that you can do to ensure the Puget Sound stays healthy.
1. Skip the Pesticides
You can have a healthy, beautiful yard in the Pacific Northwest without pesticides, without fertilizer runoff, and without wasting water. Environmentally friendly yard care is as simple as following just five basic steps to turn your yard into your own private oasis without spending a fortune:
Build healthy soil
Plant right for your site
Practice smart watering
Think twice before using pesticides
Practice natural lawn care
Learn how easy it is to do each step when you click here.
2. Clean Up the Poop
Have you ever walked your dog and just kept going after Fido, Ms. Prettypaws, or Kevin made a pile? We know picking up after your dog isn’t fun. But dog poop is a health hazard to humans, wildlife, and other dogs. It’s also a major source of pollution for our streams, lakes, and the Puget Sound.
Dog poop is raw sewage that contains fecal coliform bacteria. When you leave dog poop on a lawn, roundworm eggs and other parasites can linger in the soil for years. Anyone who comes into contact with that fouled soil – while gardening, playing sports, walking barefoot or by other means – runs the risk of providing a new host for those parasitic eggs. Your lawn can harbor a number of hard-to-pronounce parasites like Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and Salmonella, as well as hookworms, ringworms, and tapeworms. Infections from these bugs often cause fever, muscle aches, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea in humans. Children are most susceptible, since they often play in the dirt and put things in their mouths or eyes.
What to do? Take a plastic bag with you on every walk with your dog. With the bag over your hand, pick up the dog poop, bag it, and put it in the trash. That’s it. Nothing fancy, expensive, or even dirty! Because pet waste may carry diseases, don’t put it in your yard waste container or your own compost pile. Be a great neighbor for good health, clean yards, clean shoes (and paws!), clean carpets, and clean water. Learn more about it here.
3. Don’t Be a Drip When You Drive
We’re just a few months away from that exciting time of year when many people take road trips with family and friends. Before you hit the road, is your car road ready? Does it drip? A leaky car isn’t a reliable car. Whether you’re on your daily commute or on a road trip, a little car maintenance could save you a lot of hassle and money.
Each little drip may seem insignificant on its own, but together they add up to a river of oil entering our waterways each year. About 7 million quarts of motor oil from leaky vehicles are released into the Puget Sound basin every year. How does this happen? When it rains, stormwater picks up and carries these toxic chemicals into storm drains, and from there, into streams, lakes, and the Puget Sound. Oil and other petroleum products can harm wildlife and habitat.
Be part of the solution. Click here to learn how to inspect and maintain your vehicle properly, check for leaks, and more. Finding and fixing vehicle leaks is a great way to make your car last longer and protect the environment.
4. Capture the Water
If your yard looks like a pond every time it rains, you might have drainage issues. Luckily, there are ways to handle the excess water that runs off your property’s hard surfaces in ways that won’t flood your basement, carry pollutants into our waterways, or turn your home into a sanctuary for migrating Canadian geese.
Spring showers bring insight into the way water runs off impervious surfaces like driveways, patios and roofs. Take a look now at how water collects on your property so that you can start planning ahead. When sunnier weather comes, consider applying some of these green stormwater solutions to soak up and manage all that valuable water:
Mow higher, mow regularly, and leave the clippings on the lawn
Add compost and mulch to improve your soil and increase its capacity to hold water
Turn downspouts on gutters toward grassy or planted areas
Install rain-savers like rain barrels or cisterns
Build attractive, functional landscaping options like rain gardens
Replace hard surfaces like driveways, walks and patios with porous surfaces like pavers, permeable asphalt, or concrete
Learn more about ways to enhance your yard’s ability to roll with the rain here!