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Fall/Winter Best Practices To Protect Our Waterways
Salt Smart - Resources for Residents
Midwest winters can be tough on our roads and commuters. Road salt is used to keep our roads safe, but the cost of using too much salt goes beyond the pavement. Excess road salt damages vehicles and infrastructure, harms our pets and plants and degrades our rivers and wetlands. Our Watershed Group member communities are using best winter practices to keep you safe while using less salt.
For more info and resources visit http://saltsmart.org/residents/
Fall Leaf Collection Protects Rivers and Streams
Study Results: Removing Leaves from Streets is Key to Protecting Streams
Fortunately, the 2016 study in Madison by the USGS showed that removing leaves from the street before it rains could reduce the amount of phosphorus reaching streams from residential neighborhoods by 80%. The study proves municipal leaf collection and street cleaning can be extremely effective in preserving the health of local streams.
The Bottom Line
Leaf collection and street cleaning dramatically decrease the nutrients (in this case, phosphorus) entering local rivers and streams. Street cleaning is most effective if done right before a storm. This prevents the rainwater from washing leaves on the street into storm drains that lead directly to rivers.
What Can You Do?
As residents you can do your part too. Look for ways to use leaves at home – mulch flower beds or around trees, add to your compost pile, mulch with mower and make leaf mold to add to your garden next year. If you can’t find a way to use all of your leaves and need to put them out for collection, keep them out of the street. If you have a storm sewer inlet in front of your house, be sure to keep it clear of leaves and other debris.
If you can't find a way to use leaves at home, participate in your community's leaf pick-up program. Most importantly, keep leaves and other yard waste out of the street to protect local streams!
More tips and instructions for making leaf mold, or partially decomposed leaves you can add to your garden to retain moisture in the soil, can be found at www.dupagerivers.org/leaf-mold