UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Many property owners strive to lessen environmental impacts and use sound ecological practices, while others would like to learn how to do more. By making wise choices and following some simple guidelines managing your garden and lawn, you can help protect Pennsylvania’s watersheds.
A program offered by Penn State Extension’s Master Watershed Stewards — Watershed-Friendly Property Certification — recognizes Pennsylvania residents who incorporate best practices to minimize and/or eliminate potential harmful impacts to our water resources, as well as provide habitat for wildlife and pollinators. A webinar detailing the program will be held at 7 p.m., April 12.
Stormwater is any precipitation that falls from the sky onto the land that is not absorbed into the ground. In natural environments, most precipitation is absorbed into the soil. But when water hits impervious surfaces like roads, parking lots, and sidewalks, this stormwater, or runoff, can wash pollutants into nearby waterbodies, explained Erin Frederick, statewide Master Watershed Steward coordinator.
“Runoff picks up pollutants such as fertilizer, pesticides, pet waste, trash, sediment, chemicals and more, during this movement before dumping them directly into waterways,” she said. “This can create inhospitable habitats for fish and other wildlife, potentially affect our drinking water, and increased stormwater can lead to flooding and other issues. However, every property owner can make a positive impact on the health of our waterways.”
The certification is open to properties with different aesthetics and sizes, from small urban plots up to 15 acres, and includes best-management practices for reducing stormwater runoff and pollution, conserving water and providing beneficial habitats for wildlife and pollinators to reach the qualifying 85% score.
To register for the free webinar, visit extension.psu.edu/watershed-
Support for the “Watershed-Friendly Properties: An Education and Certification Program” has been provided by the state Department of Environmental Protection’s 2020 Environmental Education Grants Program. Project partners include Nurture Nature Center and Penn State Extension.
–Penn State Extension