What if I have bare soil exposed? It’s part of nature it can’t be bad for the basins.

When topsoil from your garden or yard is washed or blown away, this process is known as erosion. As topsoil erodes from your yard, it fills in and pollutes local rivers and streams, often bringing chemicals and waste with it. You can prevent soil erosion at your home by covering exposed soil with vegetation and mulch.

What are the best procedures for mowing my lawn?

One of the simplest things you can do is keep grass clippings out of the street and sidewalk. This may sound like a little thing because grass clippings are small and natural, but when everyone cuts their grass all summer long, that adds up to a lot of clippings! When grass clippings land in the street, they can be washed directly into local streams and lakes through storm drains. Clippings carry fertilizers to waterways and the grass itself also breaks down into nutrients. These nutrients and fertilizers are the perfect food to grow algae. When grass clippings are washed into the water, they feed algae and can turn a beautiful pond into a blue and green mess.

One popular lawn care misconception is that leaving clippings on the lawn after mowing causes thatch buildup. However, the truth is that thatch is caused at the root level, not from grass clippings. Letting grass clippings stay on the lawn will also allow you to skip one fertilizer application.

What happens if I water my lawn in between rain storms?

Over watering your lawn depletes the water supply, makes plants prone to pests, promotes weed growth and adds to stormwater runoff. Lawn grasses naturally go dormant–or brown–in the heat of summer. Dormancy is nature’s way of preserving water and protecting grass from extreme temperatures. The more you water your lawn, the more it needs to be mowed!

What are the best ways to handle pesticides?

Fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides pollute our local waterways. Many Wisconsin residents use up to three times more fertilizer on lawns than is necessary. Try to pull weeds manually whenever possible or spot treat problem areas if using chemical fertilizer. If you must fertilize your entire lawn, follow the summer bookend rule–only fertilize on Memorial Day and Labor Day, using phosphorus-free fertilizers. Minimizing the use of these chemicals ensures the water that reaches our rivers and lakes is clean and safe, but still keeps your lawn healthy and green.

What are different ways that I can use leaves to help my yard?

What are different ways that I can use leaves to help my yard?

Leaves and other yard waste can clog storm drains and cause algal blooms when they reach our waterways. Instead of piling leaves in the street, use them as a great natural mulch or fertilizer in your yard. They also provide an excellent addition to any compost pile.

Tips for Reusing leaves

Mulch: Prevent weeds and save money on mulch. Put chopped leaves on vegetable and flower gardens and whole leaves under shrubs or around trees.
Mow: Shred smaller amounts of leaves with your lawn mower right onto your lawn. The small pieces quickly break down, releasing nutrients for a green, well-fed lawn.
Compost: Compost is a free way to create rich soil! For more advanced gardeners, chopped leaves make a great compost addition. Place composted leaves in your vegetable and flower beds. For more information on composting, visit Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

What effects does my car care have on the stormwater?

Anti-freeze, oil and other drips or leaks from your car get flushed during a rainfall into storm drains that bring this polluted water directly to our rivers and streams. Take care that car fluids and soapy water from car washes stay out of storm drains by keeping your car well maintained, and by washing your car in a properly designated area. Take extra precaution by recycling the oil, batteries and other car parts at proper locations. Find the hazardous waste recycling center in your town by checking out the locations detailed below.

If I’m walking my pet and it ends up “going” on someone’s lawn is that okay to leave as fertilizer?

When pet waste is washed into storm drains, it goes directly into our waterways without being treated, where it decays. If not disposed of properly, pet waste can present significant health risks in waterways. The organic matter and nutrients found in pet waste can seriously degrade our water quality becuse breaking down the organic matter in the waste uses up dissolved oxygen and releases ammonia. Low oxygen levels, increased ammonia and warm summer water temperatures can kill fish.

Excess phosphorous and other nutrients can also lead to cloudy, green water from accelerated algae and weed growth, which can kill fish and other vital organisms. Do your part and dispose of pet waste by flushing it down the toilet or burying it in the yard.

What are different ways that I can make a downspout help the stormwater?

Many homes have their downspouts connected to the storm water system. This is when the pipe comes off the gutters and then runs into the ground. Or sometimes the downspout empties onto a driveway and runs to the street. During a storm, water that falls onto roofs is directed straight to the stormwater system, which can overload the system and lead to flooding. Disconnecting or redirecting the downspout is an easy afternoon project following these instructions. Step 1: Supplies All you need are a few supplies: • hacksaw • tape measure • hammer • screw driver • pliers • sheet metal screws • downspout elbow • downspout extension • splash block (optional) • rubber cap Step 2: Measure Measure 9” from where the downspout enters the sewer connection. Step 3: Cut Cut the downspout with a hacksaw. Step 4: Cap Cap the sewer standpipe. This prevents water from going in. In most cases, you should be able to use a simple rubber cap secured by a hose clamp. You can also use a wing-nut test plug if available cap sizes don’t fit. Step 5: Connect elbow Insert the downspout into the elbow (if you put the elbow into the downspout, it will leak). You may need to crimp the end of the downspout with a pair of pliers to get a good fit.

What are different ways that I can avoid over salting?

- Shovel early, shovel often
- Buy early. Make sure to buy your de-icing product well before the    big storm hits, otherwise you will be looking at empty shelves
- Check the label
- Apply salt early, but sparingly
- Avoid kitty litter and ashes
- Avoid Products that Contain Urea

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