February flowers bring March showers, and March showers sweep litter into our streams. This means spring is the perfect season to get involved in litter prevention, awareness and education in your community. Here are 5 ways you can get involved:
Host your own creek clean up. Not sure if your community has a clean up? Create your own! Stream Watch is a state-wide community science initiative where groups plan two creek clean ups/water quality monitoring events per year. Contact our stormwater education specialist at email@example.com for help picking a safe site, learning how to use the online surveys, and assistance with hosting your first event.
Learn about what happens to your waste. Did you know that Durham and Orange Counties truck their trash over 90 miles away to Montgomery County? Find out what happens to waste in your community by contacting your local government and planning a field trip to your landfill or recycling facility, or check out their website to see if there’s a video.
Promote litter prevention in schools.In Baltimore Maryland, a school-wide ban on styrofoam started by 2 high school students eventually led to a state-wide ban. Organizations like Don’t Waste Durham encourage K-12 education on litter prevention through action projects and volunteering.
Educate yourself so that you can educate others. Chatham County Solid Waste and Recycling just rolled out a new “Don’t Waste It” curriculum for formal and non-formal K-12 educators. Head over to the department page to find out about upcoming workshops or request one near you.
Do you have other ideas about how to prevent waste in your community? We would love to hear from you! Drop a comment in the box below or contact CWEP for more information.CWEP member Hannah helping out at a Clean Jordan Lake cleanup this past fall.
Are you looking for a local stewardship opportunity? Do you enjoy picking up trash or water quality monitoring? If so, you should join NC Stream Watch!
NC Stream Watch is a state-wide community science engagement program created by North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ). NC Stream Watch showcases the wide diversity of watersheds across the Mountains, Piedmont and Coastal Plains regions of the state and gives folks an opportunity to engage with their local waterways. Any interested group can participate in Stream Watch, including scout troops, church volunteers, key clubs, or school programs. The minimum requirements are to do two trash cleanups per year and take a photo and GPS location of your stream site.
This spring, CWEP is launching an NC Stream Watch Train-the Trainer series. Community groups in member local governments can contact CWEP to be trained as a Stream Watch leader and we will join you for your first event. CWEP will train leaders how to fill out the online monitoring surveys and choose a safe site. We will also provide materials such as macroinvertebrate sampling equipment and chemical water quality testing kits to enhance the environmental education opportunities at the first event.
Are you or someone you know a creative Raleigh student? Help us spread the word about the City of Raleigh’s annual stormwater arts contest! By entering this contest, students explore the powerful intersections of art, messaging, stormwater education, and community engagement. Winners receive a $500 prize and recognition as a 2020 Raleigh Environmental Award Winner.
Who: 8th-12th grade students in Raleigh area schools
What: a video or artwork entry showing how to reduce stormwater pollution and protect local waterways. Artwork should be designed to fit on a storm drain or rain barrel.
When: submissions are open until February 3rd, 2020.
How: Register here on the City of Raleigh site. This page also has more details about submission requirements.
Need some inspiration? Click here to watch the video entry winner from last year’s contest.
Above are some examples of creative stormwater messaging painted on storm drains and rain barrels. If you want to make your own storm drain art design, be sure that it fits within the required dimensions (23.5-inch diameter round or 62.5-inch x 14.5-inch rectangular)
Each month we will be featuring the outstanding work that our CWEP Partners are doing to keep our stormwater clean around the region and in your communities. This month we’re focusing on Chapel Hill and their robust stormwater program. Check out their fun local events educating their community about the importance of clean water!
The Chapel Hill FESTIFALL was held on October 1, 2017. Participants were able to interact with Chapel Hill stormwater staff and get watershed smart!
During the FestiFALL, the Chapel Hill Stormwater Management’s booth had three stations:
Find Your Watershed on the local map;
Jason Salat, Chapel Hill Stormwater Management, helps a resident find her address on the map and identify the subwatershed in which she lives.
2. Learn about pollution sources and how we can prevent water pollution with the Enviroscape watershed model;
Visitors of all ages learn about stormwater runoff and how we can prevent pollution through the Enviroscape watershed model activity.
3) Take a Pledge and get your photo taken with Grandma Beaver!
Jayden and Pedro promise not to litter to keep our water cleaner and get their pictures taken with Grandma Beaver.
PERFECT WEATHER, PERFECT TEAMWORK!
The annual litter cleanup on Bolin Creek was held on Saturday, October 21, 2017 was a lot of fun for the 47 volunteers who learned about the watershed, then spruced up a public housing community and paths along the creek with removal of about 500 pounds of trash. The 75% reduction of trash from a year ago was significant and illustrated better awareness and care of our environment as well as no recent flooding.
Perfect fall weather helped participants enjoy nature while working together during the cool morning. Many thanks go to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools’ Blue Ribbon Mentor Program, Chapel Hill High School Student Environmental Education Coalition, Carrboro High School AP Environmental Science students, Chapel Hill Police Department and academy recruits, Stormwater Management’s volunteer stream monitors, Chapel Hill Public Housing staff, and families and friends who wanted to lend a helping hand!
The only litter returned to the ground was a piece of wet cardboard under which two marbled salamanders guarded their eggs, waiting for a rain to hatch. Click this link to learn more about these critters!
For more information about Chapel Hill Stormwater Management and the work they are doing to keep our water clean and healthy, contact Wendy Smith, Community Education Coordinator, at 919-969-7246.
Everyone has an address. It starts with your name, then your house by number, then the road you live on, then the town, and finally the state you live in. Each part of your address is a larger area. Watersheds work the same way. Each small stream is part of a larger river system. Everybody lives in a watershed!
Smaller streams in the upper reaches of a watershed flow downhill to form a larger watershed or river basin. Trace your hand to see how small streams (fingers) flow together to form a larger water body like a lake (hand) which flows into a river (wrist and arm).
Watersheds Are Handy
A watershed is simply the area of land that drains to a body of water, so even a small creek in your backyard has a watershed. Small watersheds make up larger watersheds, which in turn form larger river basins, which may drain to the largest water body of all…the ocean!
Here’s a “hands-on” activity to help you visualize this concept!
Trace your hand and wrist.
Imagine your fingertips are high mountain tops. Picture rain falling on them, forming a small stream of water that flows down each finger. Also picture “groundwater” seeping up to the earth’s surface at each of your fingertips and adding water to the small stream or watershed.
These five small watersheds flow into each other as they run down to your hand. Cup your palm—together the five small watersheds form one larger watershed.
Imagine this large watershed joined by other large watersheds. Soon they flow together as one “river” down your wrist.
The river continues its journey to your lower arm, your larger upper arm, and eventually flows into the largest part of you: your body or the largest water body on earth…the “ocean.”
Cool Fact: Your body is approximately 75% water, and so is the Earth!
Watersheds Are In Your Hands
Watersheds reflect how people treat their land and water. Healthy watersheds reflect human communities that value and respect the natural resources that sustain them. Clean water is the result of their individual and collective efforts to prevent water pollution.
Today, the greatest threat to watersheds in our communities and our country is stormwater pollution! Give clean water a hand by practicing clean water stewardship every day. Here’s more information about stormwater in our daily lives.
A watershed is an area of land where all water drains to a particular waterbody, usually a stream, river, or the ocean. Watersheds cover the entire land surface of the earth. Watersheds contain homes, neighborhoods, cities, forests, farmland, and more. Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes and can even cross state lines.
The graphic above shows how water travels over a landscape and eventually forms streams and rivers. In a natural environment, this water would be pretty clean; however, when rain hits an impervious surface it creates stormwater runoff, which picks up pollutants and enters the nearest creek or stream. This creek or stream will join others to form larger streams, which join others to flow into larger rivers. Just like streams, smaller watersheds join together to form larger watersheds. That means any pollution that enters our stormwater can transported throughout an entire watershed.
All of us live in a watershed – let’s keep them clean! Use this EPA tool to Surf Your Watershed and find out more about how stormwater, runoff, and streams connect to form watersheds in your area.