What You Can Do

As you have seen, our beautiful Connecticut Valley has experienced vast changes over time. We’ve seen both the positive and negative environmental impacts of our human activities. Our challenge is to maintain a balance between economic growth and a healthy ecosystem.

In addition to learning about and appreciating the Connecticut River, here are a few things you can do to preserve it:

Join a watershed organization or land trust. Read and support conservation efforts.

Storm drains in the street (also called sewer inlets) are for water only. Water flows into storm drains, many of which empty into local creeks and the Connecticut River. You can help make our waterways safer for drinking, fishing and boating by keeping pollution and trash out of storm drains. Service your car regularly to prevent oils and other fluids from leaking onto the pavement and being washed down storm drains. Always recycle your used motor oil and other fluids from leaking onto the pavement and being washed down the storm drains. Always recycle your used motor oil and antifreeze. Manage your painting projects by choosing water-based paints and washing brushes in your sink with water. Reuse and recycle paint thinner, which is a hazardous material. Don’t pour it down the sink or storm drain.

Compost leaves and grass clippings. This will provide you with rich compost next year that can be used to enhance your garden soil. If you don’t compost, carefully bag your leaves and grass clippings. Leaves and grass clippings placed in the street unbagged will clog storm drains.

Minimize use of toxic chemicals on your lawn and garden and use only when necessary. These include fertilizers, used to make grass and flowers grow, and herbicides, used to kill weeds such as crabgrass. Use alternatives, non-chemical techniques – and save some money in the process! If upi must use chemicals, follow the directions carefully.

Minimize the use of household toxic substances. These include mothballs, drain and oven cleaners, insect sprays and many other products. Substitute with products that use natural ingredients whenever possible.

Expand your garden, plant shrubs for wildlife and cut down on the size of your lawn. Maintaining a garden without chemicals is easier that maintaining a lawn with chemicals. Use native plants and mulch, and plant densely to decrease the need for water, reduce erosion, discourage weeds, and encourage birds and other animals. Set your lawn mower height to 3 inches to encourage a deep root system.

Landscape with nature. Use native plants and grasses that are well-suited to our region’s climate and soils. Native plants usually require less maintenance and irrigation and less fertilizer. They also require fewer chemical pesticides. The result is that the water that runs off your lawn and garden into storm drains will carry fewer pollutants. Consult your local garden center for suitable native plants and grasses.

Place dog waste in the toilet or a trash can, not in the street or down the storm drain. Dog waste introduces disease-causing bacteria into our water supply.

Keep litter off the street. Thins includes cigarette butts, fast food containers and other wastes. Put trash in trash cans and clean up street litter so it doesn’t get washed or blown into the storm drains.