During rainfall, the water that hits the earth does not stay there. It will run off wherever it hits, running downhill into our waterways. Rain is essential to replenish the groundwater and fill the rivers and lakes. Still, it also leads to erosion and frequently brings chemicals and other pollutants throughout its travels. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Polluted runoff is one of the greatest threats to clean water in the U.S.

Why is stormwater runoff a problem for water pollution?

As it flows over any building or land surface, stormwater picks up potential pollutants, including sediment, bacteria (from animal and human waste), pesticides (from lawn and garden chemicals), metals (from rooftops and roadways), and petroleum by-products (from leaking vehicles) and deposits them into our waterways. Polluted stormwater runoff can harm plants, animals, people, and our ecosystems.

How to take action against sediment runoff

The goal is to keep rain closer to where it hits the Earth to prevent water pollution. Reducing runoff can help prevent water pollution, reduce flooding, and protect our precious drinking water resources long term. Surface runoff management practices are a great alternative to sediment control. 

  • Rain gardens are a great way to control sentiment and avoid pollutants from traveling into waterways. Rain gardens capture water from an impervious surface such as a parking lot or driveway and allow water to filter slowly into the ground, decreasing contaminants from entering waterways. They can minimize flooding and erosion and are better than lawns at helping the soil absorb water.  Even a small rain garden in the right location can make a big difference. Not only do rain gardens beautify the neighborhood they have many other added benefits. Read more about the BENEFITS OF INSTALLING NATIVE PLANTS IN A RAIN GARDEN
  • Eliminate Chemicals used to kill weeds that can contaminate our lakes.  Read labels on weed killers before using them in your yard and around our bodies of water. What you spray in your yard will runoff into other areas polluting waterways or soaking into the ground, contaminating aquifers, and even destroying ecosystems.  
  • Lakefront homeowners and Beaches should also attempt to deter geese and other waterfowl from their properties. One goose creates about three pounds of fecal matter daily, significantly adding to nutrients that cause algal blooms. Geese can be kept away with scare tactics (decoys, reflective objects) or by modifying your property with tall plantings or grass at the lakefront.  

Lakefront homeowners play a significant role in preventing sediment from flowing into the lakes from their yards. We need biodiversity in our lakes to keep them healthy and oftentimes runoff does harm to our waterways. Read more about the Lake Mohawk Preservation Foundation initiatives at the forefront of our mission and how you can get involved in the fight to keep our waterways clean.