April showers may bring more than May flowers. In recent years Pennsylvania has experienced frequent and heavy rain storms. Stormwater runoff impacts groundwater recharge and contributes to flooding, which is often the most immediate concern.
Did you know stormwater runoff occurs even during moderate rains, carrying water pollutants such as soil, pet wastes, auto fluids, and excess yard and garden fertilizers into lakes, streams, and rivers? Eventually these pollutants can enter larger bodies of water, including the Chesapeake and Delaware bays, creating problems for downstream neighbors.
Are there steps that you can do to help? Absolutely. April 22, 2020, marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a time for all of us to make a commitment or take an action to help reduce climate change impacts.
Especially in light of COVID-19, begin at home. Walk around your property and consider the following:
- Protect bare yard spots: Rake and reseed.
- Check gutters and downspouts: Clean gutters and make sure downspouts are diverted onto splash guards. Don’t have a splashguard? Create one by collecting and laying rocks at the base of the downspout;
- Cleanup after your pet. Bag wastes and place them in the trash;
- Reduce runoff by washing your car on the grass instead of the driveway;
- More is not always better. If you must use pesticides and/or fertilizers, follow directions. Apply at the right time and in the right amounts.
- Lend a hand by removing leaves or other debris, that may have accumulated on nearby storm drains. (Be safe—do this before a storm comes, not during the event. Avoid traffic.)
Have you thought about improving your landscape? Consider installing a rain garden, with native plants. Rain gardens can help reduce runoff and aid groundwater recharge. Native plants are usually a good choice because not only are they resilient, but they promote pollinators, such as bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and even ants and beetles. Pollinators help improve crops, bringing food to our tables.
Spread the word. Virtually share your activities and ideas with others. Happy Earth Day!
Looking for more information? Here are a few sites to get you started: