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TopKayaker.Net's Guide To Nature Issues For Kayakers

Lake Umbagog New HampshireProtecting Our Waters
From Polluted Run-off

Information provided by the San Diego Coast Keeper

Did you know just one quart of oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water and that fifty million gallons of oil disappear from cars each year - burned in exhaust, dripped on the roadway or illegally dumped? In this age, a kayaker's paradise is not found by accident. Many efforts behind those beautiful scenes make them possible.

Wetland pollutionAccording to a recent study, San Diego Bay is the nation's second most polluted bay; but Southern California's stormwater systems carry millions of gallons of polluted runoff to the Pacific Ocean everyday. All across the country and the world our waters face such dilemmas. Excess water from storm water pollution carries yard wastes, dirt and pesticides into gutters, down storm drains and into our oceans, lakes and streams.

The San Diego BayKeepers have put together the following guidelines so that you can help avoid polluted run-off from the waters you paddle in. You as a kayaker and this site, as a kayaker's network, should assist in this great effort. This season we will be devoted to that effort by providing articles such as this.

Ames in better daysIn the Home & Garden:

  • Don't over water yards or landscaping - This is one of the primary activities leading to stormwater pollution.
  • Watch the Weather - Don't use pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers just before it rains. Storms will wash your efforts away and poison aquatic animals.

  • Limit or Eliminate Garden Toxics - Pesticides and herbicides not only kill pesky insects and weeds, they make swimmers ill and can kill birds and fish, as well as beneficial insects. Talk to your local nursery about nontoxic alternatives.

  • Avoid Chemical Fertilizers - Use nutrients from your compost pile or soil amendments such as peat moss, blood or bone meal, fish emulsion, manure or seaweed.

  • Compost Your Yard Trimmings - Yard waste clogs storm drains and causes flooding. Once it reaches the ocean, the decaying waste absorbs oxygen fish need to survive.

  • Conserve Water Whenever Possible - Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and save hundreds of gallons of water.

  • Clean Up After Your Pets - Animal feces washed into storm drains account for an alarming level of harmful bacteria in polluted runoff.

  • Cover Excavated Materials - During the rainy season, use plastic tarps to cover excavated materials, stockpiles of asphalt, sand and yard clippings, and dumpsters. Prevent wind from blowing contaminants into gutters. Schedule grading and excavating projects for dry weather.

Wonalancet streamShopping and Disposal:

  • Know What's Harmful - Products labeled caution are usually the least toxic; warning means moderate toxicity; and danger, poison or the skull and crossbones indicates extreme toxicity. Remember, if it is harmful to you, it is also harmful to wildlife at the other end of the pipe.

  • Dispose of it Properly - Any liquid, solid or gaseous product labeled toxic, flammable, corrosive, irritant or poison is household hazardous waste. It is illegal to dispose of these products in the storm drain, sewer system or regular trash. For proper disposal information, call your local hazardous waste hotline number. Fire departments usually have information and can be of assistance.

  • Avoid Toxic Products - Find alternatives to toxic household and gardening materials such as aerosol products, chemical cleaners, bleach, thinners, solvents, pesticides herbicides, fertilizers and products with chlorinated compounds, petroleum distillates, phenols and formaldehyde.

  • Look for Safer Alternatives - Purchase products that are nontoxic, not petroleum based, free of ammonia, phosphates, dye or perfume, readily biodegradable, and whose containers are recyclable.

  • Don't Overbuy Products - Purchase only the amounts you need, especially of products containing hazardous or toxic materials.

Lake UmbagogCar Care:

  • Don't be a Drip - Oil and other car fluids pose a serious threat to the health of waterways and the ocean. Prevent stormwater from polluting our waterways with fluids from your car: Recycled motor oil production requires only 2.4% of the oil and 50% of the energy of new production.

  • Maintain your car regularly

  • Fix leaks

  • Use s drip pan - when changing car fluids

  • Mop up spills - with sawdust or kitty litter before they pose a problem

  • Wash your car - at a car wash that recycles and reuses its water. If you do it yourself, use a biodegradable soap and pull the car onto a patch of grass or gravel rather than increasing the flow of water in the gutter. Remove fine black dust from hubcaps with a damp paper towel or soft cloth. Dispose in regular trash. The dust contains copper and zinc.

  • Conserve Water - Use a bucket of water, not a running hose, to wash and rinse the car.

  • Carpool - Reduce auto transmissions by taking public transportation, ridesharing and using alternative forms of transportation wherever possible.

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