Homeowners can do their own part in taking steps to improve the health of the creeks to reduce the amount and slow the speed of water runoff by allowing it to seep underground by providing more porous and unpaved surfaces in your yard to soak up stormwater and striving to keep chemicals and soil runoff from tainting the creek.
Suggestions for Residents
Trees and Plants - A mature tree's network of leaves slows rainfall during a storm, reducing the speed that raindrops hit the ground and slowing the erosion of soil into the stream. Plants and trees absorb rain, and leaves drip rainfall onto the ground for hours after a storm, giving more water a chance to seep slowly underground. A tree's roots hold the soil, preventing soil from washing into the creek.
Rain Barrels - Rainfall flows down rooftops into gutters and downspouts, then gushes down driveways to flow into the street and storm drains. To slow water down (and save money on water bills), consider a rain barrel. Place the barrel under a downspout, then capture the water for the lawn or the garden. Learn more about different types of rain barrels (PDF).
Porous Patios and Walkways - The large amount of impervious cover can be a significant contribution to excessive stormwater runoff. Consider reducing the amount of impervious surface on a property with driveways or parking areas built from porous asphalt or special concrete blocks containing holes to allow rainfall to trickle through. Or try a patio made from loose slate with gravel between the rocks.
Let it Grow - A close-cropped, well-manicured lawn may look attractive but allows stormwater to flow across it too quickly. Maintaining grass at a height of at least four inches slows the growth of weeds while better absorbing stormwater.
Rain Garden - A rain garden is a planted shallow depression designed to catch and filter rainfall runoff. The garden captures rain from a downspout or a driveway. The water sinks into the ground, aided by deep rooted plants that like wet and dry conditions. A residential rain garden should dry out between rains and should only hold water for 24 hours in order to prevent standing water that could create mosquito habitat.
Rain gardens have been proven to help slow down stormwater runoff and filter pollution, protect rivers and streams, and create a healthy habitat for birds and butterflies. Learn more about rain gardens (PDF).