Quiz: Non-point source pollution. Are you part of the problem?

Quiz: Non-point source pollution. Are you part of the problem?

Could your daily activities be polluting your neighborhood stream? Answer a few questions to see!

1. Do you clean up pet waste from your lawn?

YES       Great job for being a responsible pet owner!

NO         When it rains, pet waste can be washed into a nearby stream and cause E. coli and other bacteria to increase in numbers in the streams. By walking through your yard a couple of times a week to clean up after your animals, your yard will not only smell nicer, you can know you are not contributing to increased pathogen levels in the stream.

2. Do you read and follow the instructions when applying fertilizers to your lawn?

YES        Awesome! So, you already know that more does not equal better, and to never, ever apply fertilizers before it rains.

NO         If excess fertilizer is applied to your lawn, or if applied just before it rains, the nutrients are washed into the stream and becomes food for algae. This can cause algal blooms and lead to depleted oxygen levels in the stream, often times causing other wildlife in the stream to die. Next time, read the label for application instructions.

3. Do you blow your leaves or yard clippings into the storm drains on your street?

YES       Storm drains lead to the closest creek or stream, so when you put yard waste into your storm drain, you are contributing lots of organic matter into the stream. When this extra organic matter in the stream begins to break down, it will use oxygen from the stream, and can contribute to depleted oxygen levels in the stream. Again, this can cause organisms in the stream to die if oxygen levels drop too low.

NO         You rock! Want to be really awesome? – Use your yard clippings to create a compost pile in your yard to simply return those nutrients back into the soil in your own yard! Or use the compost for your own garden next year.

Just a few small changes to our daily activities can help keep our streams happy and healthy! Stay informed and educate your neighbors to keep our local environment clean.