Stream Stewardship for Residential Property Owners - Six Easy Steps

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Olsen Ziegler Realty

Some residential property owners are fortunate enough to have a stream running through their property or perhaps their property adjoins a common area or some other entity that has a stream.

People are willing to pay higher prices for property with natural amenities such as wildlife, streams, lakes, ponds, panoramic views, etc.

For people who have a stream on their property, there are six easy things to do that can help maintain the health and vitality of your stream and also benefit your downstream neighbors.


  1. Don't mow the lawn to the edge of the stream.
    Leave a buffer. 
    Eliminating the plants and bushes in the buffer zone causes the root systems to be lost and creates more erosion problems.
  2. Plant live, but dormant, unrooted cuttings (no buds, leaves or visible roots) in the buffer zone.
  3. Don't Dump anything near the stream or into the stream
    This includes organic material like leaves and grass.  These will decompose and eliminate oxygen in the water -- a bad thing.  Please ensure any contractor who cuts your lawn does not dump the grass clippings near the stream or even down the hillside or ravine that feeds a stream.
  4. Remove Trash From Streams.  In my neighborhood, a fellow resident and I co-developed an annual Spring Clean-Up Day in our neighborhood to clean our streams.  After three years of doing this, we have seen dramatic improvements.  We can now see clear running water and the shale beds underneath.
  5. Don't change the path of the stream.  Sometimes homeowners are thinking they are helping when in actuality, they are hurting the stream.
  6. Septic Systems -- Keep in Good Condition.  If you have a septic system, please ensure it is in good working order and be judicious or eliminate sending bleach, chemicals, etc., down your drain.


This is a photo of just "some" of the excess branches, twigs, etc., that were in my own community's streams that a group of 20 volunteers removed in one day.  This doesn't include the 55-barrel drums, construction debris, plastic tarps, forts, plastic, glass and aluminum bottles and a host of other things we removed.

stream debris removal


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Chris Olsen

Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate
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