As spring has sprung, you probably have noticed homeowners sprucing up their yards with flowers and shrubs, lawns being mowed, and people spending more time enjoying the outdoors. It may bring a wonderful sense of contentment and satisfaction to feel the sun on your face and watch birds flitter in and out of the trees. However, with spring comes showers and storms. Have you noticed what may be happening in your yard during and after a rain storm?
This past spring has already brought us a lot of rain. I have noticed that at times my gutters are overwhelmed by the volume of water and overflow. What happens to all of that water? In many cases, gutters empty along driveways or across short stretches of lawn where water eventually finds its way into the closest storm drain. Heavy rain events do not allow for water to soak into the ground before flowing into a nearby storm drain.
Rain water quickly flows across the surface of the ground and along pathways and driving surfaces. Often times, stormwater may pick up and carry with it sediment, nutrients from lawns, waste from farms and pets, oil and litter from streets, and many more contaminants before flowing into streams or entering storm drains to be transported directly into the nearest local waterway.
Stormwater is a major source of pollution that affects the entire Chesapeake watershed, from the far-reaching headwaters of Pennsylvania and New York down to the main-stem Chesapeake itself. This ubiquitous problem poses a great challenge to the restoration of the Chesapeake as pollution may enter waterways a number of ways and crosses all walks of life. However, as such, all citizens within the Chesapeake watershed can help make positive changes in the reduction of stormwater runoff… and they can start right in their own backyards.