There are plenty of sings that spring is in full force. Sometime these signs are natural indicators like flowers poking through weathered mulch, or migrating birds like sandhill cranes flying far overhead; but others, are signs of human life awakening after winter. These signs like people cleaning up boats, or washing cars and bikes in their drives, or the often dreaded spring clean-up around the yard – all can bring potential risks to local water quality.
As you are preparing your home and yard for spring, be sure to consider the impacts your lawn has on water quality. Your individual choices and actions make a difference!
Your Lawn Fertilizer Choices
Many mature lawns do not need fertilizers, particularly fertilizer with phosphorus in it. Remember one pound of phosphorus running off into the water can grow 500 pounds of algae.
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Your Yard Clean-up Choices
There are several natural ‘fertilizers’ and pollutants that accumulate over the winter, decompose, and find their way into the water as well. Things such as leaf litter, pet waste, and general landscaping yard waste all contain nutrients such as phosphorus that can also add to spring and summer algal blooms.
Even some other simple spring-cleaning backyard behaviors like car or boat washing and oil changes can also be a significant source of nutrients and other pollutants to the local streams and drinking water supplies.
These pollutants get to the reservoir through direct runoff from yards or street-side storm drain inlets that discharge untreated to nearby streams or to the reservoir itself.
Consider the choices you are making around your home as you begin spring yard work. Protecting the water quality of Morse Reservoir requires everyone to do their part to make sure their property doesn’t contribute pollution to our water supplies. You can make a difference – make a clear choice for clean water!