Protect Lake Erie, our Streams, and our Aquatic Ecosystem By:
- Using Water Wisely & Only When Needed - Keep the untreated rain water for landscape plants and to maintain the natural water table. Make use of rain-barrels, rain-gardens, permeable paving, and/or bio-swales. Collecting rainwater helps to reduce overwhelming the storm sewer capabilities.
- Avoiding Street Storm Water Drains - They drain directly to local streams and Lake Erie without any filters or treatment. Therefore, DO NOT pour any liquids down the street storm water drains. The following are especially harmful: oils, antifreeze, soaps, fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. DO NOT rinse used paintbrushes outside, instead wash in a utility sink. All these items have negative environmental effects. The lake is our source of drinking water and contamination can have effects on public health.
- Not Dumping Yard Waste in Streams or Lake - Dumping leaves, grass clippings, or other items in the stream and lake contributes to nutrification of the lake water which, in turn, causes unnatural algal blooms. When these algae die, their breakdown depletes the lake water of oxygen and creates dead zones. The dead zones cannot support aquatic life and, therefore, disrupts the balance of life in Lake Erie. The lake is our source of drinking water and its health can have effects on our own health.
- Washing Your Car On the Lawn – Regular car wash soaps will not harm the lawn and will keep it greener with the extra water. The goal here is to avoid having the runoff go into the street storm sewers because the soaps act as a fertilizer and contribute to the nutrification issue described in the previous tip. If you cannot wash your car on the lawn, then try to use a commercial car wash.
- Properly Draining Pools and Hot Tubs - Drain your pools and spas only when test kits do not detect chlorine. If possible, drain pools and spas into the sanitary sewer system.
- Raising the Height of your Mower – Mowing lawns on the mower’s highest setting helps the grass shade the soil, which in turn, keeps the soil from drying out in the summer. This ultimately requires less water to keep your lawn green and healthy. Additionally, the longer grass helps crowd out weeds. This style of trimming is recommended by landscaping experts and does not require any more frequent trimmings than if you had cut the grass at a lower setting.
- Picking Up After Your Pet – Pet waste is a contributor to local water quality issues in our streams and at Huntington and Columbia Beaches. Waste left in our yards is carried by rainwater into our storm sewers. These sewers drain directly into our streams and Lake Erie without any treatment. Pick up the dog droppings with a biodegradable bag and place it in your regular trash. More information is available from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District website athttp://wheredoesitgo.weebly.com/
- Using a Rain Barrel on Your Property – These can prevent the flushing of pollutants into our streams and lake. Additionally, they provide a free water source for watering your gardens. Workshops are offered yearly in Bay Village. Participants will leave the workshop with a fully functional, and ready to install, rain barrel. Visit http://www.cuyahogaswcd.org/RainBarrels.htm for details.
- Avoiding Sprinkler Runoff - Do not allow water runoff into storm drains through poorly positioned sprinklers and over-water.
- Vegetate Bare Spots - Vegetate bare spots in your lawn to prevent soil erosion.
- Following Integrated Pest Management Practices (IPM) - Know that insects can be beneficial; NOT ALL BUGS ARE BAD! Accept some degree of pest damage. If you must use a pesticide, use only the chemical to control that specific pest and spot treat only where needed. Apply pesticides when wind is minimal to avoid spread beyond plants being treated. Do not apply pesticides near storm sewer drains, streams, or the lake. Water runoff can carry the pesticide and contaminate our streams and lake.
- Using Herbicides Sparingly - Accept some level of weed infiltration. If you must use an herbicide, use the chemical specific to the weed to be eradicated. Apply herbicides when wind is minimal to avoid spread beyond plants being treated. Do not apply herbicides near storm sewer drains, streams, or the lake. Water runoff can carry the herbicide and contaminate our streams and lake.
- Using Fertilizers Judiciously - Apply minimal amount recommended (MORE IS NOT BETTER). Avoid application before heavy rain & recognize that some portion of what you apply will end up in our drinking water source. A professional soil test can determine if, what, & how much fertilizer is needed. Consider using organic fertilizers. Do not apply fertilizers near storm sewer drains, streams, or the lake. Water runoff can carry the fertilizer and over-nutrify our streams and lake. This is a large factor in the growing dead zone in Laker Erie. Read more about the Lake Erie Dead Zone here: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/tabid/6159/Default.aspx.
Reduce Air Quality Issues in Bay By:
- Not Burning Leaves – Not only is this illegal in Bay Village, but it contributes to air pollution. Instead, rake them to the curb so that they can be collected and composted by the city.
- Purchasing Landscape Materials from the City - Order mulch and/or leaf humus from the Service Department to “close the loop.” These materials are products of Bay Village's curbside leaf and branch compost/recycling program. Bay Village composts its leaves at the Westlake/Bay Compost Facility Center on Ranney Parkway in Westlake. The humus is available from mid-April to November. Call 440-871-1221 for availability and pricing information. Bay Village will deliver the humus to Bay Village residents only. There is a delivery fee. Brush and tree branches are also taken to the compost facility where they are shredded. This product is also available for sale and information is available at 440-871-1221. Purchasing this material locally reduces transportation emissions.
- Reducing Yard Waste Needing to be Trucked to a Compost Facility - Leave grass clippings on lawn (returning nitrogen to the soil). Compost clippings, leaves, etc. can be used as fertilizer and mulch on your property. See http://www.bayvillagegreenteam.org/waste/home-composting for details on how to compost in your own yard.
Keep Our Soil Healthy By:
- Adding Compost to Your Soil - applying compost to soil improves its texture, structure, aeration ability and water holding capacity. It acts as a soil conditioner, helping to break down clay by organic matter, bringing 'dead' soil back to life. Compost is an excellent, sustainable and inexpensive way to improve soil health and the health of plants. Composting at home reduces garbage being landfilled and conserves natural resources such as water, organic matter and nutrients. Learn more about its benefits and how to get started composting at the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District information pagehttp://cuyahogaswd.org/en-US/Composting.aspx
- Choosing More Native Plants for Your Property - Native plants grow more easily because they evolved in this habitat. Check out:http://ohioline.osu.edu/b865/b865_01.html. They require less fertilizer, fewer pesticides, & less watering once they are established. Native plants benefit birds, butterflies, the soil structure & the microscopic creatures in the soil. Identify & remove alien INVASIVE plants because they escape & take over natural areas. Ohio’s invasive non-native plants: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/tabid/2007/Default.aspx
- Encouraging Bio-diversity by Planting Many Different Species of Plants - Bio-diversity supports a wider range of small creatures in our landscape and ecosystem. Bio-diversity reduces the risks of wide-spread disease & insect problems. Plants form symbiotic relationships with one another and within their eco-niche.
- Planting in Layers as to Mimic & Support Natural Ecosystems - Trees are the canopy; shrubs, tall perennials, and ornamental grasses make up the next layer. Flowers, groundcovers, and lawns cover the bare earth. Maintain lawn height above 3” to conserve moisture & reduce weeds.
- Reducing Lawn Areas - This helps the environment as lawns are very demanding of chemicals & labor. This provides space for growing more ecologically productive plants. Consider converting lawn to growing a few food plants for your family…tomatoes, peppers, zucchini. Here’s a link to get you going:http://www.gardenguides.com/how-to/tipstechniques/vegetables/veggie.asp
- Avoiding Over-manipulation of Soil Grade Levels & Structure - Existing plants have adapted to air & water exchange at existing soil levels. Trees particularly suffer when the soil grade is raised over their roots. Changing grade levels can negatively impact natural drainage patterns.