The Dare Soil and Water Conservation District encourages everyone to help conserve and enhance the quality of our soil and water. The District offers these practical tips as part of a statewide effort to help our homes, businesses, and communities.
Interested in installing Best Management Practices at your own home?
To insure that your BMPs are installed correctly and successfully, for a list of native plants, sample rain garden designs, sizing your garden and/or cistern, purchasing a rain barrel for your home, or for any other questions… don’t hesitate to call our office!
- Backyard Rain Garden
- Backyard Wetland
- Biorentention area
- Stormwater Wetland
- Impervious Surface Conversion
- Permeable Pavement
- Pet Waste Receptacle
- Riparian Buffer
- Grassed Swale
- Stream Restoration
- Streambank Protection
- Critical Area Planting
- Well Closure
Water quality is important on the Outer Banks because our lives depend on healthy waters. Think of all the activities you do in Dare County that depend on clean water. Fishing, crabbing, swimming, surfing, kayaking, etc! The Outer Banks is a very beautiful place and our enjoyment and economy depend on healthy and clean waters. Pollution has become a problem not only in our area, but all over the world. The leading form of water pollution in North Carolina is storm water runoff.
Storm water runoff is rainwater that does not soak into the ground. This rainwater, called runoff, flows off hard surfaces such as streets, rooftops, driveways, and parking lots and carries pollutants directly into our waterways - untreated! A few types of pollutants stormwater picks up are fertilizer, pet waste, car grease, trash, cigarette butts, cans, chemicals, oils, and too much organic matter like leaves and grass clippings. These pollutants can be washed down your driveway, down the street, down the storm drain, and straight into the ocean or sound.
There are several conservation and best management practices you can use to help protect water quality and slow down storm water runoff. You and your family can help keep our local waterways pollution free, by using conservation practices right in your own home!
Did you know the average person uses 125 gallons of water each day? By implementing several easy steps, everyone can play a part in conserving this valuable resource. Following are 10 steps to help conserve water –
- Use water only when needed. Do not let the sink run continuously while shaving, washing, rinsing dishes or brushing teeth.
- Run only full loads in the washing machine or dishwasher.
- Minimize time in the shower. An extra 5 minutes puts up to 25 gallons of water down the drain.
- Instead of throwing extra ice cubes in the sink, put them in your plants.
- Each person should use a single cup each day to save water and dish washing time.
- Repair any leaky toilets or dripping faucets.
- Install water saving low-flow devices for faucets and shower heads.
- Recycle water when cleaning fish tanks. This water is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus and can be used to water plants.
- Do not over-water your lawn. Even in the summer, lawns only need watering every 3 to 6 days. A hearty rain can eliminate watering for nearly two weeks.
- Maintain lawns at a length of two inches to reduce evaporation and mulch around plants and trees to help them retain moisture.
Do Not Litter
Never throw anything on the ground. Since we are surrounded by water, any discarded trash could end up in our waterways. This is especially true for plastic bags and cigarette butts, which can take up to twelve years to break down and have been found in the stomachs of birds and marine animals.
All papers, newspapers, milk jugs, soda cans, bottles and glass can be recycled. Not only can these materials be reused, but also keeps them out of our landfills, which enhances the quality of our soil. Store recyclable items and take them to recycling centers available throughout Dare County or contact your local municipality for curbside recycling.
Recycle oyster shell
We love the bounty of our local waters, oysters being one of them. Did you know you can recycle oyster shells? Oysters need calcium carbonate to get their shell to start growing. So putting old shell back into the water, we provide habitat for oysters to grow in addition to providing habitat for other animals in the water.
Wash Your Car On Your Lawn
When you wash a car on the driveway, soap bubbles, cleaners, oil and gasoline can be swept down the road into the storm drain. Instead, wash your car on the lawn and use non-phosphorus soap. This keeps chemicals out of our water system, and it helps water the lawn.
Pick Up After Your Pet
Pet waste from yards can find its way into our waterways when it rains. Genetic studies of water pollution have shown that roughly 20% of it comes from dog waste.
Safeguard Products That Contain Harmful Pollutants
Many substances are toxic to plants, animals, and fish in our waterways. Do not let car grease, household cleaners, paint thinner and other substances spill and wash down your driveway. Dispose of these items properly and recycle used motor oil.
Use a Rain Barrel or Cistern
These collect rainwater from the roof and provide a source of water for gardening, washing cars, irrigation, and plumbing. Remember that you pay for your water use. Take every opportunity to collect water-it is FREE!