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Whether you live along a river or not, your everyday actions impact our streams and lakes.  Rain and snow melt runs off our roofs, lawns, and driveways, eventually making its way to local streams and lakes.  If you live in a city with curbs and gutters, it most likely goes into the nearest storm drain which is piped directly to a stream or lake.  It does not get filtered or treated.

There are several steps you can take to “Be River Wise” that will help this water to soak into the ground instead of running off into our streams and lakes.  By soaking into the ground, the water recharges our ground water supply (which we drink!), filters out harmful pollutants, and protects local waterways.

What can I do at home?

To be River Wise at home, learn more about these watershed-friendly practices:

You can maintain a lush “green” yard and be more environmentally-friendly at the same time. There are many things you can do to around your yard to protect the environment and keep our streams and lakes clean. Read our full “Green” Yards page to learn about three basic things to consider when working on your lawn and garden.
Did you know lawn and garden watering can account for as much as 40 percent of household water use during the summer?

A rain barrel is a simple vessel used to capture and store rain water that typically runs off your roof during a storm. Rain barrels are an easy way to harvest the rain water that normally runs into the streets and down the storm drain. All that rain water rushes into the nearest lake or stream without being filtered. Large volumes of rain runoff can erode stream channels, harm aquatic wildlife, and overdose waterways with large amounts of nutrients that can cause harmful algae blooms.

Read more about rain barrels and view a step-by-step guide.

You have questions; we get that!

What is a rain garden?

A rain garden is meant to mimic nature by allowing rain water to soak into the ground.  It’s a garden bed planted in a shallow depression with plants specially adapted to dry and wet conditions.

Why do we need rain gardens?

Natural landscapes like forests and prairies enable almost all of the rain water to soak into the ground, recharging groundwater (our source of drinking water). Concrete soaks in no rain water. Water that runs off of our roofs and driveways gets polluted by trash, chemicals, dirt, and even heat. This runoff travels directly to streams and rivers through the storm sewer system, which does not filter or treat the water whatsoever.

Learn more about rain gardens including how to create one and access a Rain Garden Guide today!


Explore the various ways to support the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council today!