The largest source of water pollution cannot be traced to any one point — it’s all of us. Pollutants “run off” our streets, neighborhoods and landscapes, wastefully and needlessly fouling our coastal waterways and ocean. But you can take simple steps in your own garden to create beautiful landscapes that capture the eye of your neighbors while capturing the polluted runoff that flows to our local beaches.
Whenever water leaves a property it has the ability to take pollutants with it. Fertilizers, pesticides and oil are easily picked up by the power of water. While this runoff is greatest during rain storms, urban runoff occurs all year round as a result of improper irrigation, washing cars, and hosing down driveways.
Runoff from residential landscapes affects the quality of our oceans and the quality of our lives. The sediment in water reduces clarity; nutrients increase algae populations and red tides; bacteria close beaches; debris can choke and suffocate aquatic species; and pesticides picked up off a landscape can poison fish consumed by humans — all of which degrade the natural beauty, and our enjoyment, of the ocean.
The good news is that you can help bring back healthy coasts and oceans though CPR© —
Conservation, Permeability and Retention. It’s a way for all of us to design and maintain our gardens so that we can reduce urban runoff — and the pollutants that go with it.
Surfrider Foundation is partnering with water agencies and others to launch an education and outreach effort as a pilot “Ocean Friendly Gardens” program in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Look for details on each chapter’s Ocean Friendly Gardens program rollout on the chapter websites and in future email announcements from the chapters.
But you can get started on your own garden and begin reducing polluted runoff today. Start in a small area and grow over time – or go for a full makeover. Be creative. Get your hands dirty. But most importantly, HAVE FUN!!