Green Thumbs For Blue Water




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BACKGROUND

Erosion is a natural process that is accelerated by human actions. Even the most conscientious homeowner can worsen soil erosion and contribute to water pollution. This is especially true if her land directly borders a stream or lake.

Erosion on Dutch Hollow Brook, Town of Owasco It's a fact: water quality suffers from the land use activities of lakeshore and streamside (or riparian) property owners. Building homes, tilling gardens, caring for a lawn, paving a driveway: all of these land uses facilitate the pollution of our waterbodies. Clearing vegetation from streamsides or lakeshores to create an unfettered view does even more damage. This vegetation, also known as a buffer, is the last line of defense before polluted runoff reaches water. Without buffers, polluted water runs directly into waterways picking up even more sediment as it erodes unvegetated banks. Landowners typically contribute pollutants such as sediment, pesticides, and fertilizers applied to lawns, trees, and shrubs. These substances degrade stream and lake water quality, inhibit fish reproduction, encourage the growth of nuisance weeds, and threaten public drinking water supplies.

Everyday activities can impact water quality:  fertilizing a lawn, tilling a garden, and cutting grass

Everyday activities can impact water quality: fertilizing a lawn, tilling a garden, and cutting grass

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Updated: March 8, 2010