CLEAN WATER STARTS WITH YOU AND ME!
You might wonder if you can make a difference when it comes to preventing pollution. One smart way of approaching global problems is to focus on your own corner of the world. When you walk down the street in your own neighborhood, what do you see? Cigarette butts? Dog poop? Clogged drains? Small things can make a big difference, and Stormwater SMART believes in starting small with SMART goals.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. What do you want to do? How will you track your progress? Choose something you you have the time and energy to accomplish, and ask yourself why it's important. Choose a reasonable timeline for your goal or project. Need more help? Link here (COMING 3/30/20)!) to a form that will help you set a SMART goal for your own home, neighborhood, or community. Submit your form for a chance to win $100 for cleanup supplies!
SMART Projects for Improving Water Quality in Your Neighborhood
You know that feeling you get right after you clean your room? Give that feeling to others by cleaning a creek or stream in your community! Get safety tips and recommended supplies here.
Many people think that storm drains lead to wastewater treatment plants where water is sanitized, but storm drains lead directly to creeks, streams, rivers, and lakes. Help others learn the stormwater refrain, "Only Rain Down the Storm Drain!"
This educational tool from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality helps everyone practice citizen science! Learn to evaluate water quality and habitat health, and put your local creek or stream on the statewide map!
Every year, organizations and businesses in the Triad come together to provide educational events, cleanups, and fun outdoor activities for individuals and families. You can attend an event or start your own!
Need some help on your project? Our environmental educators provide free programming in our member communities throughout the Triad. Fill out a request form and we'll come to your neighborhood with supplies, ideas, and some friendly assistance!
More Things We Can All Do
There are things we can all do to prevent stormwater pollution. Many of us didn't know these things could help until someone we trusted explained why. Check out the many ways that you can have a positive affect on our neighborhood creeks and streams.
Unlike human waste, pet waste goes into our lakes, rivers and streams untreated. Even if you don't live near the water, pet waste can be picked up by stormwater and transported through stormdrains.
Building A Buffer
A riparian or forested buffer is an area along a shoreline, wetland, or stream where plants are allowed to grow and development may be restricted or prohibited. The primary function of riparian buffers is to physically protect a stream, lake, or wetland by allowing plants to absorb and stop pollution from entering the water.
Proper Use of Fertilizer
Plants need nutrients, just like humans need vitamins. However, you can have too much of a good thing. Runoff from excessive lawn irrigation, and from heavy rains discharges unused fertilizer directly into our waterways. High nutrient levels often result in algal blooms, which tend to out-compete plants.
Disposing of Hazardous Materials
We use hazardous materials almost every day. They are found in products used for housework, gardening, home improvement, or car maintenance. Danger, warning, and caution signs are all indicators of toxic substances. They can be found in everything from oven cleaner and floor wax to motor oil and paint supplies.
Low Impact Development (LID)
LID is exactly what it sounds like - development that minimizes its impact on the environment. By working with the landscape, developers minimize the amount of pollution that leaves the site. Rain gardens, rain barrels or cisterns are popular forms of LID.
Maintaining and cleaning your vehicle at home is an excellent way to reduce maintenance costs and ensure your vehicle is getting reliable service. However, if all lubricants and internal fluids are not properly contained and disposed of, they could easily contaminate our waters.
Storm Drain Dumping
Many people don't realize stormwater flows untreated into our streams and rivers. Many of these waterways eventually find their way into our drinking water supply. It only takes a small amount of material to have a devastating effect on our watershed.
Rain gardens are gardens designed to soak up rain water. A shallow depression collects a few inches of water and allows it to be absorbed into the ground or by plants instead of flowing into nearby streams and lakes. Plants and soil trap, absorb and filter pollutants found in stormwater runoff including fertilizers, pesticides, oil, grease and metals.