Let it grow!
The simple answer to avoiding mass street run off, carrying with it silt and pollutants, is to encourage roadside run off and storm water catchment planting buffers.
Often referred to as simply ‘rain gardens’ curb-side plantings serve an invaluable purpose – much like using a filter in your coffee maker.
The myth that encouraging native vegetation increases insects is both damaging and counter productive. Native vegetation provides a home for native insects and birds who do sterling duty eating more than their own body weight in mosquitos and invasives. Clearing vegetation buffers and overuse of pesticides and insecticides has contributed to a worldwide crisis in the disappearance of pollinating species. If you like to eat – reach for a lady beetle not the bug spray.
For information on how to grow your own street, front and back yard natural habitat look no further than the National Wildlife Federation’s web site.
And if you here complaints about ‘growing weeds’ – creating a neighborhood natural gardening ethic is a key part of planning and zoning in progressive communities.
On the larger scale, the principle of community storm water management was the goal of the Great Lakes Commission “Greater Lakes: a three year partnership to create a Joint Action Plan for Clean Water Infrastructure and Services”
“Traditional water supply, sewage, and stormwater management systems create physical and institutional barriers that fracture the natural water cycle. This approach has negative environmental impacts and creates financial burdens for governments, taxpayers, and utility users. Many municipalities are taking steps to repair the fractured water system and these experiences provide a basis for sharing the knowledge learned with others.
Between 2013-2016, the Greater Lakes project worked with six pilot communities across the Great Lakes to share lessons learned and develop tools to help address financial and ecological challenges of managing water services. The lessons and the stories are featured here through a variety of products:”
And to see how one advanced thinking community embraced this concept see Mississuaga, Ontario . Note though the link quoted to Greater Lakes in that article is no longer active. Use the ones above.
Why do we care about ‘fractured water’? Because what goes around comes around – or maybe not if public policy and infrastructure send the sources of drinking water downstream, away from our aquifers and watersheds …..
As many communities face increased water bills, and outdoor irrigation can lead to larger electricity and septic pump out bills, – how to conserve water use without actually noticing it will be the topic for the next ‘Outside the Bear Lake box’ article.