October 2022
Backyard Conversation
Connecting Community + Conservation
Welcome to the Backyard Conversation! Each month we'll be sharing a conservation topic from a more personal viewpoint for our readers. To make this successful, I want to hear feedback from you! I'll include a poll at the bottom regarding our topic and share links to some of our partner organizations with similar messages. So, let's get to it!
Stormwater Awareness Week
What can we do to reduce stormwater pollution and runoff?
Stormwater Awareness Week is quickly approaching. It is a statewide effort that encourages communities, local groups and residents to raise awareness of how stormwater moves through our environment and infrastructure. Have you ever stopped to think about how exactly water moves during a rainstorm? Let's talk about it.

First of all, what is stormwater? We talk about it a lot here, but it can be easy to forget to cover the very basics and the big picture. Stormwater is essentially rainwater or snowmelt after it hits surfaces or the ground. Stormwater runoff is generated from rain and snowmelt events that flow over land or impervious surfaces like roads, parking lots, and roofs. Stormwater can pick up all kinds of trash and pollutants while it makes it's way through the environment. From your home, stormwater runoff can pick up pet waste, fertilizers, leaves, leaking vehicle fluids, soap, chemicals, litter, and more. It runs from your yard into the storm drains. There is a common misconception that storm drains go directly to the sewer plant, but it just isn't true! Storm drains actually lead to our creeks and rivers. Anything that the storm drain picks up will eventually drain to a nearby body of water. That is why it's important to protect stormwater. Reducing stormwater runoff and pollution helps protect our waterways and water quality!
Heal Our Waterways
What can we do to reduce stormwater at home?
At home, preventing and reducing pollutants is a great way to improve water quality. Clean up leaking vehicle fluids as soon as possible. If using fertilizers or any chemicals outdoors, follow the label precisely and apply when there is no rain in the forecast for a couple of days. Clean up pet waste regularly and before it rains. Wash your car on the lawn instead of the driveway, or use a car wash (they recycle the wash water!). Regularly pick up trash. Keep leaves out of the storm drain. These small and simple actions will help reduce stormwater pollution overall.

Another way to improve water quality is to reduce the volume of your stormwater runoff. With increasing rain events and storm strength due to climate change, just capturing stormwater at home before it enters the storm drains and waterways can make a big impact. Reducing the volume of stormwater will help prevent erosion in our local waterways in addition to reducing stormwater pollution. You can capture stormwater at home in a variety of ways:
native plant flower bed garden
Native Plants: Ohio native plants have strong, deep roots that do an excellent job at capturing stormwater and filtering out pollution. Because they are native, they are adapted to our environment and more resilient to Ohio's variable weather. The plants soak up water to use for photosynthesis and growth. Additionally, native plants also support native wildlife and pollinators!
Rain Barrels & Rainwater Collection: Rain barrels are an excellent way to reduce stormwater at home. They capture the rainwater coming from your roof before it ends up in the storm drains. You can use that captured rainwater to water your plants or your lawn. This will also save you money on your water bill by reducing your usage! With a diverter hose, once your barrel is full, it will redirect excess water to flow out of the downspout.
Rain Gardens: Rain gardens are designed to capture and soak in stormwater. Plants that can tolerate periods of wet conditions are best. You could direct your downspout into a rain garden where the water can be soaked into the ground vs. entering the storm drain. For a stormwater double whammy, plant your rain garden with native rain garden plants.
downspout directed to rain garden
downspout direction rain garden
Pervious Pavement: Need to redo your driveway? Consider pervious aka permeable pavement! While it is generally more expensive to do pervious pavement than non-pervious pavement (asphalt, concrete), it is a great way to reduce your stormwater runoff.

Before making changes to your downspout or adding pervious/permeable pavement, check with your local municipality or zoning department to make sure there aren't any rules or stipulations!
Stormwater Awareness Week
October 16-22, 2022

For events and more things you can do to help stormwater, visit our Stormwater Awareness Week page! There are quite a few events to get involved in - from webinars to tree plantings. Check it out.
Question of the Month
Have you heard about Stormwater Awareness Week?
Yes, AND I plan to participate this year
Nope, but now I will plan to participate this year!
No, thanks for letting me know
Here are the full results from September's poll asking how readers manage their fallen leaves:

Combination of these

"Leaf" it on the lawn


Yard waste collection

N/A - no yard or leaves to manage!
Get the Scoop from Nature Scoop

Want to learn more about backyard conservation, pollinators, and more? Read the latest edition of the monthly newsletter Nature Scoop by Toni Stahl, National Wildlife Federation Habitat Ambassador.

Nature Scoop October 2022 - Save Monarchs; Aggressive Native Plants?; Save Bats and More!

Learn more at www.backyardhabitat.info and on Twitter @NatureScoopOhio.
Mikaela Mohr
Outreach Program Specialist
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
1404 Goodale Blvd. Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43212 
p: 614-486-9613 | e: mmohr@franklinswcd.org
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District | (614) 486-9613 | www.franklinswcd.org