If April showers bring May flowers, what does a summer rain bring? Rose leaf spots, soggy lawns, mosquitoes, a leaky roof and stormwater runoff.
Rain is needed to replenish the groundwater aquifer that supplies our drinking water wells. In addition, plants need water during the warm summer growing season. Rain also refills pools, ponds and lakes that lose water daily back into the atmosphere through evaporation. Rain is an important part of the cycle that purifies water through evaporation and condensation into clouds, then precipitation back to Earth as rain.
Stormwater moves across the ground into roadside drains and ditches before collecting in ponds, lakes and rivers. It eventually flows to the oceans. We play an important role in keeping stormwater runoff clean. Things we do in our own yards and neighborhoods can prevent pollution. Here are a few ideas:
- Be a “litter getter” and encourage family and friends to pick up litter whenever they see it. Prevent litter in ponds and ditches by securing garbage cans and not setting them out until just before garbage is scheduled for pick up. When raccoons and neighborhood dogs dump the cans over, pick litter up before rain floats it away or blows it into waterways. The smallest pieces of plastic such as bottle caps, cigarette butts, wrappers and straws float and flow with the water into roadside storm drains and through pipes to ponds. Litter poses a threat to wildlife who may become entangled or mistake it for food. It is much easier to keep litter out of a pond or lake than to pick it up once it is in a larger water body.
- Pick up after your pets. Pet waste contains germs that are contagious to people. It also contains nutrients that help algae grow in ponds. Plastic newspaper bags and grocery bags make cleanup easy. Dispose of the waste in the garbage can or in the toilet. Our county and city parks have pet stations with bags at the entry gates and along pathways in case you forget.
- Participate in or organize a neighborhood clean-up. Join us on July 19, 2014 for Lake Appreciation Day and help us pick up litter in Lake Tohopkeliga along the shore or in the water. Visit the Environmental Fair with hands-on activities at exhibits and learn more about our lakes and ways we can all prevent pollution. Learn more and register online at http://lakeappreciation.eventbrite.com