Every-day Habits Make a Difference

The need to keep our rivers, lakes, marshes and Great Bay healthy is something we can all agree on. As invaluable sources of recreation, commerce and inspiration these natural resources play a vital role in our daily lives whether we realize it or not. But while everything may look picturesque on the surface, our watershed is at constant odds with pollution caused by our everyday actions.

Understanding that there’s a problem caused by our everyday actions is just the beginning. We are hoping to increase community participation so that together, we can protect the places we love.

Here’s What You Can Do to Help:

What You Can Do at Home

  • Maintain Your Septic System
    If you have a septic system, treat it with care. Chemicals dumped down the drain interfere with the septic system’s ability to process waste. Also, septic systems must be pumped every 3-5 years. Failure to have a septic tank pumped can cause messy, stinky overflows that pollute water and threaten public health.
  • Use Eco-Friendly Products Whenever Possible
    Using “environmentally friendly” products, which are less resource-intensive to make and less harmful when used, is a great way to reduce the amount of contaminants that could potentially find their way into our rivers, lakes, marshes and bays.
  • Dispose of Paint & Other Chemicals Carefully
    If you have leftover paint, pesticides or other chemicals, dispose of them safely. Dumping chemicals down the drain is not a safe option. Contact your town to learn about hazardous collection events in your area.

What You Can Do in Your Yard

  • Start Composting and use less fertilizer
    Use compost to augment your soil and fertilize your plants, rather than synthetic fertilizers.
  • Install Rain Barrels
    Installing rain barrels at the bottom of your house’s gutters and downspouts helps reduce the amount of polluted water running off of your land & can be reused to water your garden.
  • Let the Rain Soak In 
    Slow stormwater runoff by directing downspouts into lawns, beds or rain gardens.
  • Mow High 
    Set the blade on your lawnmower to a 3” or higher setting and leave the clippings. This will reduce the need for water and synthetic fertilizers.
  • Build Healthy Soil
    Supplement your soil with mulch, compost and other all-natural soil amendments; you’ll reduce the need for fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.
  • Use Less Pavement 
    Instead of paving your patio try using pervious paving stones set into permeable stone dust. Tr y crushed stone driveways instead of asphalt. This will allow the rain to soak into the ground instead of running off.
  • Plant Less Lawn & More Native Plants 
    Plant gardens allow for a lot more water to soak in than lawn does.

What You Can Do with Your Car

  • Dispose of Fluids Properly
    Never pour anything down a storm drain, since most drains empty directly into streams or rivers. Recycle oil at registered collection centers throughout the region.
  • Fix Leaks 
    Chemicals leaking from cars are a major source of pollution, as they get washed into the nearest stream.
  • Skip Driving Alone
    Carpool or use public transit to reduce air and water pollution and save money.

What You Can Do with Your Pets

  • Pick Up the Poop!
    Dog waste contains fecal coliform bacteria and other disease-causing organisms such as salmonella, roundworms and giardia. If you own a dog, please remember to always pick up after your four legged friend so that pollution doesn’t get washed into our rivers, lakes, marshes and Great Bay.
  • Bathe Pets the Green Way
    Wash your pets indoors or have your pet professionally groomed. If your dog or animal is so big that he has to be washed outdoors, make sure to do it on the lawn or another permeable surface to keep the soapy water from running into a storm drain.
  • Try a Do-It-Yourself Grooming Shop
    There are many shops in the Seacoast region where you can bathe your pet yourself. Best of all: no after-bath clean up!

Get Involved as a Volunteer

  • There are many local and regional organizations that need volunteers. Whether you like to get knee deep in mud counting bugs or teaching children about pollution or stuffing envelopes our community of non-profit orgnizations NEED YOU! Visit the Stewardship Network: New England’s Online Hub for a huge variety of opportunities across the Seacoast.

Get Involved as a Business

  • If you own a business think about how you can help protect the waters around you. Can you reduce the parking lot size? Plant a rain garden to catch rain runoff? Donate to a local conservation organization?
  • As a customer visit the local businesses you know support clean water. Visit The Green Alliance for over 100 businesses who are “Clean Water Champions.”

PREP is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, a joint program between local, state and federal agencies established under the Clean Water Act with the goal of protecting and enhancing nationally significant estuarine resources. PREP is supported in part by an EPA matching grant and is housed within the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire.

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