Learning about stormwater and its effects on our rivers, streams, and lakes is the first step to minimizing the pollutants we drink and swim in.
By identifying and understanding how some of our everyday actions can contribute to stormwater runoff and making small changes to how we perform these tasks, we can help prevent water pollution in our communities.
How to Help
Here are a few things you can do to reduce the amount of stormwater that flows into Lake Champlain.
Reduce Salt Use in the Winter
Using road salt in the winter months can contribute to water pollution in Vermont’s lakes, rivers and streams.
Install a Rain Barrel
One easy way to help protect lakes, rivers is to redirect your roof gutters and downspouts away from hard surfaces such as your driveway andcollect the rainwater in mosquito-proof containers known as rain barrels.
Practice Eco-friendly Car Care
Did you know it’s actually better to use a commercial car wash to prevent oil and grease, and other toxics from washing into our storm drains and enter Lake Champlain UNTREATED!
Redirect your Downspouts
To ensure that stormwater is running into proper drainage areas, check that your downspouts are directed away from your home’s foundation and into grass or a garden.
Most lawns and gardens in Vermont do not need fertilizer. So when you fertilize without needing to, you actually help things grow in the lake instead of in your lawn or garden.
Install a Rain Garden
A rain garden allows the rain water to pool for a short period of time in the garden. As rain from rooftop areas or paved areas soaks into the ground, the water is cleaned by the plants and the soil microbes in the soil.
About Algae Blooms
Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, are photosynthetic bacteria that occur naturally in waters used for recreation, such as swimming and waterskiing.
Certain environmental conditions, such as elevated levels of nutrients, warmer temperatures, still water, and plentiful sunlight can promote the growth of cyanobacteria to higher densities, forming algae blooms.
Learn more about algae blooms and what you can do to help prevent them.
We’ve included science experiments that are easy and simple to do with your children.
Highlight the impact of stormwater runoff and how it can affect the lake.
Tips for Rural Homeowners
Even if your home is located in a rural area it can have impacts on downstream water bodies like Lake Champlain.
Glossary: What is a watershed? What is an outfall? Learn the terms associated with stormwater runoff and you’ll be the most interesting person in your neighborhood!
The UVM Watershed Alliance supports state-wide watershed education and water quality monitoring in Vermont middle schools, secondary schools, alternative education programs, and youth groups.
Head on over to Stormville, our interactive learning adventure, to see all the things around your house that affect stormwater runoff.
Blue® - Salix Solutions
It is much less expensive to prevent polluted waters than to clean them up. BLUE® is an innovative program that certifies homes, businesses, and institutions as watershed friendly. Evaluators educate and collaborate with property owners to identify opportunities for stormwater mitigation, affect behavioral changes, and establish stewardship principles to protect our waters. Perhaps you could use a rain barrel or rain garden, perhaps a water trench or French drain. Find out how you can make a difference by mitigating stormwater runoff before it leaves your land.