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Water Protection

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You can be an active force in safeguarding and enhancing the quality of our water resources. Here are six easy ways to improve water quality.

  1. Keep paved surfaces clean. Sweep grass clippings and rake leaves from the street and storm drain. Clean up spilled fertilizer, oil, and other chemicals and dispose of properly.

  2. Turn your downspout onto your lawn. Runoff directed down your driveway can pick up oil, yard waste, and other debris. Be a good neighbor and be careful not to redirect the water towards your neighbor’s property or a highly erodible area.

  3. Reduce fertilizer use. Have your soil tested before applying fertilizer to your lawn. Excess fertilizer can runoff or leach from the soil and impacts our lakes, creeks, and wetlands. Using a mulching mower can be roughly equivalent to one free fertilizer application per year. You can learn more by reading this factsheet about phosphorus law in Minnesota and water quality protection.

  4. Capture and infiltrate your runoff. Install a rain garden or rain barrel. Reduce unnecessary impervious surfaces or replace failing surfaces with pervious pavers to help increase the amount of runoff absorbed into the ground.

  5. Pet waste. When pet waste is not picked up, it does not magically disappear or fertilize the ground. Pet waste left on or near driveways, sidewalks or streets can make its way into storm drains and travel directly into our wetlands, lakes, creek and river. As pet waste decays, it releases nutrients and bacteria that damage the ecosystem.

  6. Minimize use of road salt. Pay attention to temperature and weather conditions to ensure you're using the right substances and methods to manage snow and ice. Excess road salt damages local surface waters as well as groundwater, vegetation, and infrastructure. Read more strategies to balance salt use with winter safety.

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