Is it wise to dump your lawn clippings in the creek or in the gutter? If yard waste such as leaves, grass clippings, weeds, prunings, brush, and small twigs that are naturally found around the home, are disposed of along a creek or in the storm drain it can impact our water quality.
Yard waste decaying in creeks and rivers decomposes in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic life can't survive in water with low oxygen. As yard waste decomposes, plant nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are also released. These nutrients promote the excessive growth of algae in the water. As the water becomes polluted, it does not support the aquatic life and becomes a health hazard.
Leaves and woody debris naturally accumulate in streams and creeks. However, when you collect and dispose of yard waste along creek banks, the added yard waste covers the ground and keeps out natural vegetation that helps to stabilize the bank. This practice leads to increased erosion and sedimentation that clouds creek water and destroys habitat for aquatic life.
Dumping your yard waste in the storm inlets has the same impact. It all ends up in the nearest stream, creek or river.
what can you do?
* Never allow yard waste to be washed down or put into the storm drains.
*Do not sweep or blow grass clippings along the street or into a storm drain.
*Do not dump grass or yard waste onto a creek bank or area where it will be washed into creeks and rivers.
*Compost your leaves, brush, grass clippings and other yard wastes.
*Control erosion on your property by planting native trees and ground cover to stabilize erosion-prone areas.