Everyone assumes natural cycles and resources have an amazing capacity to rejuvenate themselves. We assume that local, state or federal government agencies are protecting our water resources, and as a result, we will have enough clean water for many years into the future. While there are private organizations and public sector agencies working to protect these resources, the broad spectrum of water resource protection and the crucial importance of this resource to our existence makes this an issue of critical concern to every individual. Successful protection of the resource over the long-term means everyone must consider their individual responsibility for watershed stewardship.
Watershed Stewardship: What Can You Do?
As an integral part of the watershed you live in, what you do in your backyard and in your lifestyle makes a difference. Here are some examples of what you can do to help protect the high quality and exceptional value water resources in our Lehigh County Watersheds.
- Reduce fresh water use around the home by installing water conservation devices. The less groundwater used, the less the natural system must recycle.
- Landscape your yard with native plants that require less water and fertilizer and also provide food and shelter for wildlife. Use only the amount of fertilizers and pesticides that lawns and plants need. Test your soil first.
- Reduce the amount of deicers, chemicals or other hazardous materials used around the home.
- Minimize the use of mowed lawn areas and impervious surfaces (pavement) in your landscape allowing more natural infiltration of water.
- Divert rainwater from paved surfaces onto natural vegetation to permit infiltration back into the groundwater.
- Be gentle with the types of cleaning chemicals you use in your home. Anything you put down the drain either ends up in your septic system or the community sewage system. Add everything together and overloads on these systems can discharge chemicals directly into our waterways and groundwater.
- Retain or establish streamside (riparian) buffers or greenbelts to help filter runoff, protect water quality and enhance fish habitat.
- Properly store and dispose of hazardous materials, paints, oil, gasoline, etc.
In your community:
- Join and become active in a watershed partnership organization.
- Learn your watershed address; remember, we all live downstream.
- Learn about the watershed you live in and the land uses which can affect your watershed.
- Volunteer to help with water quality monitoring efforts in your watershed.
- Protect wetlands that serve as natural buffers against pollution, soil erosion, and flooding and which serve as important groundwater recharge areas.
- Encourage the Implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP's) - conservation practices which lessen the impacts of stormwater runoff-in your community.
Encourage watershed based planning and protection measures within your community. Work with your local municipality to implement these watershed planning measures in your home watershed.