You turn on your faucet and water flows out. For most of us, this is how we get our water. Unfortunately, it also makes it easy to forget just how much the health of a watershed affects water quality and the people, wildlife, and plants that depend on that water. Well-managed watersheds serve as recreational magnets for humans and critical habitat for wildlife. They also reduce flooding.
What is a watershed?
Ironically, watersheds are more about land than water. A watershed is all the terrain in a given area that drains to a single point, which can be a lake, stream, wetland, or even the ocean. That includes your yard. It, too, is an important part of the watershed system.
What you can do to protect it
You have the most control over what happens to the water on your own property. Here are six ways you can preserve and protect local watersheds:
1. Limit fertilizer. If you must fertilize your lawn, choose a product without phosphorous which, along with nitrogen, upsets the balance of nutrients in local waterways.
2. Avoid pesticides. Though many pesticides do eventually break down in the soil, a storm can wash them into nearby streams.
3. Pick up pet waste. The E. coli bacteria produced from dog droppings is huge - don't let it end up in your drinking water. Pick it up and dispose of it properly.
4. Buffer streams. If you have a stream on your property, provide a natural buffer of native trees, shrubs, and plants around its banks to filter dirty storm water runoff.
5. Use commercial car washes. The best place to wash your car is at a commercial car wash, many of which filter their water before directing it to treatment plants. If you must wash your vehicle at home, park it on the grass first, so your lawn absorbs some of the detergent runoff and contaminants.
6. Avoid paving. If you must pave, consider stone pavers for a patio, rather than concrete, and gravel for a driveway, rather than asphalt.
It's easy to brush environmental concerns off on someone else. But the responsibility for our most precious resource begins right at home.
Interested in buying or selling a home in Sedona, Arizona? Search for homes now at http://www.cathigunderson.com/
The next step - finding the right real estate agent - is easy.
You're about to experience the power of excellence.
Cat Gunderson, REALTOR, CDPE
Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty, Sedona AZ