How Can I Protect the Crum Creek, its Tributaries and Wetlands?
The Crum Creek, like all creeks, streams and ponds, gets its water from rain in two ways—directly from rainfall or indirectly from rain that falls elsewhere and eventually drains into the creek. Actually, it gets most of its water from this runoff. This presents a problem, because a large proportion of stormwater runoff is from surfaces of streets, driveways, industrial sites, and shopping centers that are polluted with all kinds of chemicals, oil, road salt, and debris.
A lot of runoff also comes from residential landscapes. Homes and yards do not have to be right next to a creek to contribute runoff from storms. All the properties in the watershed of a creek contribute. This water is also often polluted. Where the creek is bordered by wetlands, the runoff can drain through them and the dense plantings help filter it before it gets to the creek or its tributaries. However, natural wetlands are disappearing, so the polluted water ends up in the creek. Homeowners can help keep creeks clean two ways. One way is by encouraging rainfall to soak into the soil in their yards. Another is by using environmentally safe yard care products and practices that will not pollute water that drains into a major creek or one of its tributaries.
Ways to Encourage Storm Water to stay on Your Property:
- Plant lots of trees— their extensive roots are famous for soaking up rainfall.
- Control soil erosion. Cover all the bare soil on your property with groundcover plants or organic mulch such as chopped leaves, wood chips, or pine needles.
- Use stone or brick pavers set in soil for walkways and driveways to encourage storm water to soak into the ground rather than run off.
- Mow your lawn at 2 ½ or 3 inches tall. This thick turf will discourage rain runoff and protect the soil. The grass will be healthier too.
- Buttress slopes on your property with soil berms, walls of rock, logs, railroad ties or plantings of sturdy ornamental grasses to hold soil which will absorb rainfall and block runoff.
Ways to Minimize Pollution of Storm Water Runoff from your Yard
- Use pesticides sparingly on lawns, crops and gardens. Choose environmentally safe ones.
- Use slow-acting fertilizers which release nitrogen over time on your lawn and gardens.
- Sweep up and discard grass clippings and other debris from paved surfaces rather than hose it off.
- Check your gasoline powered tools and your car to make sure they do not leak oil.
- Clean up outdoors after your pet.
- Take your car to a commercial car wash where the water is recycled and then properly disposed of.
- Dispose of household hazardous waste at designated collection events.
- Empty swimming pools or ponds slowly so the water does not run off your property.
- Join an organization that works to preserve and protect local creeks. [link to CRC]