- Never dump anything directly into a storm drain
- Lawn Debris– Materials such as grass and tree clippings should never be swept into a storm drain or onto a street, they provide excess nutrients and promote unnecessary algae growth which, in turn, can cause severe negative impacts to the rest of stream ecosystems.
- Pick up After Your Pets– Rain washes parasites and bacteria from pet waste into local waterways and also unbalances nutrient loads. This poses harm to those who use the waterway for recreational use and also degrades stream ecosystems.
- Sweep Pesticides and Fertilizer off of hard surfaces and onto your lawn– These applications will be streamlined to local water bodies if left on patios, driveways, or other impervious surfaces.
- Wash Vehicles on Lawn– Washing vehicles on a grassy surface allows the dirty and soapy water to be absorbed by plants and soil, filtering the water and preventing it from washing into a storm drain.
- Properly Dispose of Chemicals– Some things like motor oil and batteries can be recycled. Other products that should be brought to a facility for proper disposal include paint, herbicides, pesticides, and swimming pool chemicals. Be careful to clean up after any spills and avoid allowing any chemicals to reach the storm drains.
It's spring, so we are getting lots of rain lately. Rain always disrupts the land a bit and causes concern as it flows through yards, ditches and construction sites. But where does it all go? If you were paying attention in your second grade science class you learned about the water cycle. Some of the water soaks into the ground and recharges our groundwater. Smaller amounts of water evaporate to be collected in the sky creating more rain. But most of our rain water eventually makes its way to streams and rivers, oceans and lakes.
Our storm sewer systems do the job of collecting and conveying the rain water to its destination. These storm sewer systems collect the quickly accumulating rain and convey it down stream to make roads and bridges safe and to protect other property features such as houses, buildings and airports. There is a common misconception that the catch basins and yard inlets actually flow to a treatment facility. Some people think the water is taken to the same location that our sanitary sewers take and treat our sewage. This is not true. The catch basins and yard inlets you see around town flow directly to ponds, lakes, rivers and oceans.
Because everything that is put into a storm sewer eventually makes it's way to our important natural features, you should never dump anything other than water into a catch basin or yard/street inlet. Never dump yard debris, pet waste, pesticides, fertilizers, vehicle wash, paints and other chemicals into a storm drain, The diagram below is a simplified diagram showing you how this system works.
Tips for keeping our lakes and rivers clean!
Storm Drain Tagging Program
Warren SWCD is committed to educating the general public about our storm sewer systems and protecting our wetlands, lakes, streams and rivers. One or our first jobs for our summer interns was installing storm drain tags! These tags let people know where the storm water flows and reminds them that dumping anything other than water will cause environmental pollution. If you are interested in helping us educate the public and would like to volunteer for our storm drain tagging program, please visit our Volunteer Opportunities page on our website.
I was out on my regular inspection last week when I drove past the historic Peters Cartridge superfund clean up site. I'm always slightly distracted when I drive around that narrow "s" curve and over the bridge as I strain to study the remnants of the historic structures. This day something different caught my eye. Hundreds, even thousands of white tubes were sticking up from the ground as if growing. I pulled into the bike path parking lot and took a closer look. Beautiful, healthy trees were flourishing from every single white tube. I becoming excited by the prospect of thousands of new tree seedlings! I stood there in awe of the shear volume of tree seedlings and curious how far this project reached. The tubes were lined up for as long as I could see so I started to walk down the path to investigate.
I found out later, I was photographing approximately 2000 newly planted native tree seedlings. The project I stumbled upon was the result of a partnership between Little Miami Conservancy, DuPont, Sycamore High School students and numerous local volunteers. Little Miami Conservancy organized the work and collaborated the effort. I was tremendously impressed by what I saw and what seemed like never ending rows of native tree seedlings. The trail beautification effort was successful and even included a sturdy picnic table and additional wood chip lined trails along the river. Warren SWCD applaud the effort of every participant and are excited to see this area grow!
Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forests and woodlands that have been depleted, usually through deforestation.
Why Reforestation is Important
According to the United States Department of Agriculture forest Service, America's richly, diverse forests provide vital products and amenities to our society including quality habitat for wildlife, biodiversity of plant and animal communities, clean water, aesthetic benefits, and recreational opportunities. Timely reforestation following harvest or a major catastrophic event to restore forest cover on denuded lands is often important to maintaining forest ecosystems and deriving associated ecological, social, and economic benefits.
Reforestation is an element of a land stewardship ethic that includes growing, nurturing, and harvesting trees to meet specified resource objectives while conserving soil, air, and water quality in harmony with other resource management concerns. Reforestation following harvest or revegetating areas denuded by catastrophic fire or other natural disaster is often important to ensuring forest sustainability; it is a top priority for national forest management.
Are you interested in the trees on or near your property? Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry has a multitude of information and even assistance programs to guide you. Visit their Landowner Assistance page to learn more. The service forester for Area 12/Warren County is Pat Migliozzi, click HERE for his contact information and office hours. In addition, there is a nice publication that contains education information on managing and protecting Ohio's forest, wildlife and water resources. Subscribe HERE.
Earth Day is just around the corner. It's a day of reflection and of action. Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22 each year. All across the world various events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. The first Earth Day was held in 1970 - not that long ago if we really think about it. That day really marked the birth of the modern environmental movement. Earth Day has traditionally been tied to political activism and policy change, but it has flourished into so much more. In recent years, the movement has grown outside the boundary of political confines and has taken on more of a personal significance. This is a day where we can all look to the earth in awe and wonder and think about our interaction with this valuable natural resource. The day reminds me of one of my favorite thoughts...
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors,
I challenge all of you to dig deep and figure out what this thought means to you. What kind of earth would you like your children to enjoy? What actions can you take today to ensure the health of the earth prevails? How can you inspire others to do the same?
One of the focus points of Earth Day 2017 is reforestation. Here at Warren SWCD we really believe in this effort and have worked to provide native trees to the residents of our county for years. Did you purchase any of our Tree Seedlings? If so, you might want to visit this REFORESTATION page to register your trees and learn more about the Trees for the Earth Campaign.
The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative from last fall resulted in approximately 2,500 gallons of milkweed pods collected throughout the state. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this effort in Warren County!
Over the winter the milkweed pods were delivered to Department of Corrections Institutions where the seeds were collected from the pods and placed in cold storage. This process improves the germination of the seeds. Once this process was complete, the seeds were distributed back to Warren County and to the other districts who participated in the initiative.
For those with a packet, follow the planting guide below:
Planting time: February - April OR September - November
If you wish to plant the seed in the spring, you will need to stratify the seed. To stratify the seed, place a thin layer of seed between damp paper towels and place it in a refrigerator for approximately 40 days. If you plant the seeds in the fall, seed stratification is not necessary.
Site selection: Sunny spot with well-drained soil.
Prepare soil: Remove weeds and rake to 1'' deep.
Spread seeds: Uniformly cover the cleared area.
Press seeds: Walk over newly planted area.
Do not cover seeds any deeper than 1/16''. Some of the seeds will remain visible.
Water: Regularly for 4-6 weeks for germination.
Watch: Reduce watering at 2'' tall, unless the seedlings seem stressed.
Spring is just around the corner and here in Warren County we have already been seeing the signs - rain, rain and rain! Sometimes rain can collect on a property in less than desirable locations making mowing, growing and recreation difficult. There are lots of ways to solve drainage problems, but one that will add some aesthetic value as well is a
A rain garden is a shallow, constructed depression to catch rainwater. It contains plants that tolerate standing water for several hours. If it is designed properly, all water from a rain event will soak into the ground within 48-72 hours. Rain gardens receive a rush of polluted stormwater from hard surfaces (such as sidewalks, driveways, roofs, and streets), hold the water for a short period of time, and allow it to naturally soak into the ground. The plants and soil remove most pollutants so that the rainwater can recharge the groundwater with clean healthy water.
Warren SWCD Office Rain Garden in Action!
Learn more about rain gardens and rain garden design by visiting our Rain Garden Webpage! Call our office today if you would like technical assistance on your rain garden project!
Warren Co SWCD Staff Blog
A blog to keep you informed on all the latest news at Warren SWCD and in the conservation world.