Groundwise: It’s Spring!

Now that we have the go-ahead from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Mayflower can move ahead on plans to become better stewards of our property.

What does water stewardship mean? Water stewardship means protecting our waters by reducing pollutants from storm water runoff and forcing more water to soak into the ground instead of running into storm sewers. At Mayflower, our runoff (oil, gas, sidewalk salt and silt) impacts Minnehaha Creek, Lake Hiawatha and the Mississippi River.

 April actions everyone can do for the health of our waters:

Adopt a storm drain. Leaves, garbage, fertilizer, and grass clippings make their way into storm drains and eventually into our streams, lakes, and rivers, where they can cause toxic algae blooms and lower oxygen levels. You can make a big impact by regularly clearing debris from storm drains and gutters along your street. Bag up trash, recycle leaves and clippings, and never put anything down a storm drain other than water or snow.

Use fertilizer wisely. If you over-fertilize, excess phosphorus and nitrogen will run off and end up in local streams, lakes and rivers. Test your soil before you fertilize so you know whether you need amendments, and how much. The Minnesota extension service offers soil testing kits for $15 by calling (612) 625-3101 or emailing soiltest@umn.edu. And sweep up any fertilizer spills on walks, driveways or roads.

Protect the health of your gardens and lawns. It is tempting to start spring clean up by raking lawns and removing mulch. But raking too early may damage the root systems. Removing mulch and thatch while we are still subject to freezing and thawing may leave your plants exposed to spring damage. Leaving things in place a little longer helps retain a layer of vegetation that can slow down spring runoff and improve the long-term health of your landscaping.

If you would like to help shape short- and long-range plans for Mayflower grounds and water stewardship, contact Linda Ridlehuber for notice of upcoming Groundwise meetings.