Stormwater - NUMBER ONE
NonPoint Source of Pollution to our Waters
Stormwater discharges are contributing to at least 55% of the impairments in all Massachusetts' assessed waters. MA is 4th most urbanized state in the country (~40% urbanized)!
When it rains, the water has to go somewhere. In a natural system, a good 55% of the rain is absorbed by the vegetation and soils, but when land gets paved over, the water has no place to go except run downhill. This is stormwater runoff. As it travels downhill over paved (impervious) surfaces, it picks up fertilizers from yards, pollutants from the cars and streets, animal waste, and sediments. The following are some of the negative results from stormwater runoff as it runs off impervious surfaces:
- Eutrophication of our streams and ponds
- Sedimentation of fish spawning areas
- Reduced water in our streams after the rains (because less water goes into the groundwater)
- Flooding of low lying areas
- Bacterial pollution at our beaches and in shellfish beds
- To learn more, check out EPA's "After the Storm"
Salem Sound Coastwatch is committed to increasing the public's knowledge of the threats to the Salem Sound watershed, fostering responsible and sustainable resource management practices, and promoting citizens' and municipalities' understanding of their role in restoring and protecting the watershed and Salem Sound.
Stormwater Runoff is all our problem!
What Can Individuals Do?
- Volunteer to take water samples at outfall pipes in our Clean Beaches and Streams Program
- Learn more about Greenscapes and Low Impact Development (LID) to reduce runoff.
- Start in your own backyard - Minimize use of fertilizer and use only organic fertilizers,
- Build a rain garden,
- Plant native trees and shrubs.
- Keep it clean - Buy environmentally friendly cleaners and dispose of hazardous materials properly.
- Join us to Stencil for a Cleaner Sound.
- Get involved! - Support regulations to improve water quality
- Be willing to pay for stormwater services in your town or city.
- Support SSCW; become a member.
Help us to protect and restore our rivers, forests,
beaches and ocean.