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Sunday, February 1, 2015

20 Tips For Protecting Our Water

As many of you know, I am taking the Master Gardener Volunteer Class through the MSU Extension.  As I go through the classes I will share some of the top tips that I learn from the class and link to some of the resources that I learned about.

20 Tips For Protecting Our Water:
  1. Reduce the amount of water you use whenever possible. 
  2. Check plumbing for leaks.
  3. Upgrade appliances to water saving devices (toilets, showers, faucets, clothes & dishwashers.)
  4. Install plants that do not require a lot of watering.
  5. Water the lawn & garden in the early morning.  This ensures that most of the water will reach the plants rather than evaporating into the air. 
  6. Use a rain sensor with irrigation systems so that you do not water when it is not necessary. Also set your sprinklers so that you are watering the plants rather than the side of the house or the driveway. 
  7. Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses.  These are 20-40% more efficient than sprinklers
  8. Use mulch to help keep the soil moist.
  9. Do not mow your lawn lower than 3 inches.  This helps to keep the ground below the grass moist.
  10. Plant a rain garden to prevent sediment runoff/erosion, and to help the water soak into the

  11. Harvest your rain water with a water barrel. You can then use this to water your garden! 
  12. When paving, use materials that allow the water to drain through them, rather than causing run-off.
  13. NEVER empty fertilizers, chemicals, trash, animal/pet manure or other waste into a waterway.
  14. Always test your soil before using fertilizers. 
  15. Only use the amount of fertilizer you need. More is not better! Fertilizers can run off into the water ways causing pollution and killing wildlife. Try to use compost instead of fertilizer whenever possible. 
  16. Do not apply fertilizer at the edge of a waterway. Leave a buffer zone between the fertilized areas and the water. 
  17. Avoid use of pesticides.  If you must use a pesticide, use it EXACTLY as directed, and do not apply it near a water way.
  18. Do not mow to the edge of water. Create a no-mow zone around the water to encourage native plants and stabilize the shoreline.  This helps prevent sediment and runoff.
  19. Always plug abandoned wells to prevent pollution from entering groundwater.
  20. If you have a septic tank: have it inspected and pumped out every 3-5 years, do not use additives or chemicals in the septic system, do not drive or park on the septic drain field, only plant shallow rooted plants over the septic tank and field.  These practices will keep the system from leaking and polluting the land and water.
Interesting Facts:
  •  97.5% of the world's water is salt while around 2.5% is fresh.
  • 0.0000375% of the planet's water is readily available and safe to drink 
  • Michigan's great lakes contain 20% of the world's fresh water supply and make up the largest freshwater system on the planet. 
  • Sources of water pollution include: sediment/eroded soil (the largest source), factories, oil spills, waste water treatment plants, farms, storm water discharge pipes, storm water runoff, fertilizer, pesticides, human and animal waste, fuel, oil, road salt, trash and other litter.
  • Each day, Michigan residents discharge 264 million gallons of waste water into either the public sewers or septic systems.
  • Each year, 9.4 billion gallons of waste water runs, untreated through failed treatment systems.
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      1. Why does the DEQ allow Round upaka glyophophate to be put in our narrow small lake in Brighton Township and how does a resident go about changing this? It's a nonsports body of water pretty much only used for fishing.

      2. I dont think that dumping glyphosphate in a water way is legal. The DEQ might not know it is happening. I would contact either the DEQ or Michigan EPA office to inform them about the dumping and to find out what can be done. Best of luck fighting that! It is awful!