The Power of Stormwater
In 2012, we saw the impacts of stormwater in a big way! The amazing power of water resulted in washed out roads, property damage and very high lake and stream levels. But even smaller rain events result in stormwater that can affect water quality in our lakes and streams.
So, what is Stormwater?
Stormwater is any water that originates from rain or snow/ice melt.
Why is it a problem?
Stormwater can wash pollutants into lakes and streams. If stormwater comes too fast, it can also cause soil erosion on lake and stream banks. Examples of pollutants that can be found in stormwater include road salt, car related chemicals, detergents, and soil. It can also include organic materials such as pet waste and lawn clippings/leaves.
Wait, soil and leaves can be a pollutant?
Leaves/grass clippings, pet wastes and soil particles all contain phosphorous. Phosphorous is food for algae. Too much phosphorus = algae blooms in our lakes.
How can we limit stormwater runoff?
You can help lower the impacts of stormwater on your property and help keep our lakes and streams healthy by doing simple things to slow the flow of water.
- Raingardens – A landscaped area designed and shaped to catch runoff. During a rain event, stormwater is diverted into the garden, allowing the water to slowly soak into the ground.
- Rain Barrels – A container that captures roof water from a downspout. This water can be collected and used later to water gardens and lawns.
- Native Plantings as Buffers – A strip or area of native plants strategically planted on a stream or lake shoreline. Buffers protect your shoreline and help filter out potential pollutants.
- Animal Waste Management – Picking up your pet’s waste (yes, we mean poop) prevents it from being washed into lake and streams and becoming where it becomes food for algae.
- Lake/streambank stabilization – Where shorelines are eroding, work with your local SWCD to learn different methods of restoring your shore. They can help you with local and state regulations, plus give you insights on what works well in our area.
For assistance in managing stormwater on your property give us a call. Technical assistance is available. Financial assistance may also be available for the installation of rain gardens and buffer strips.
For more information, please contact: Aitkin County SWCD