15 ways to reduce nutrients in lakes and streams

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5 ways for residents

Use no-phosphorus fertilizer on lawns and gardens
Be sure to check the bags when you buy them. Look for the package formula of nitrate-phosphorus-potassium, such as 22-0-15. The middle number, representing phosphorus, should be 0.
Keep grass clippings in the lawn
When mowing the grass, avoid blowing grass clippings into the street, where they wash into storm sewers that drain to lakes and rivers.
Keep leaves and other organic matter out of the street
Again, streets drain to storm sewers, which in turn drain to rivers and lakes.
Sweep it
Sweep up any grass clippings or fertilizer spills on driveways, sidewalks and streets.
Leave a wide strip of deep-rooted plants along shoreland
Instead of planting and mowing turfgrass here, plant wildflowers, ornamental grasses, shrubs or trees. These plantings absorb and filter runoff that contains nutrients and soil, as well as provide habitat for wildlife.
 

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5 ways for farmers

Buffer strips help
Leave a wide strip of deep-rooted plants along ditches, streams and lakes to absorb and filter runoff. Many programs, including ditch authorities, pay rent for these filter strips.

 

Change the plan on marginal land
Plant marginal cropland to perennial crops or convert to water retention areas.
Use smarter drainage
Install controlled drainage systems instead of traditional pattern tiling.
Manage the nutrients
Follow nutrient management plans to ensure efficiencies and protect water resources.
Manage the manure
Follow manure management plans, including setbacks from water resources when applying manure to fields.

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5 ways for cities

Spread the word
Educate residents about keeping grass clippings and other organic matter out of storm sewers.

 

Pet waste and litter
Enforce laws on littering and pet waste disposal. Provide trash cans along popular pedestrian routes.

 

Leave a wide strip of deep-rooted plants along shoreland
Instead of planting and mowing turfgrass here, plant wildflowers, ornamental grasses, shrubs or trees. These plantings absorb and filter runoff that contains nutrients and soil, as well as providing habitat for wildlife.

 

Construction work best practices
Educate contractors and excavators on best management practices for sediment control and enforce related laws.

 

Have city staff do it right
Require employees to follow best management practices for mowing, fertilizer application and other maintenance work.