Your Green Life: "Storm Water Dangers"

By KBJR News 1

May 15, 2014 Updated May 15, 2014 at 8:23 AM CDT

Duluth, MN
Streams and creeks around Lake Superior are in trouble.

Jesse Schomberg, a Program Leader and Extensions Educator for MN Sea Grant, says "They're being degraded by temperature in the case of Miller Creek, sediment in the case of some of our other streams."

After the snow melts, the remnants of a brutal winter remain. Salts, sand and other junk forgotten in the snow eventually runoff as the snow melts.

"Well the salt washed off pretty quick, it dissolves in the water when the snow melts and that runs off and that has its own set of problems for the streams. But now we see all that sand left lying around sidewalks and driveways and roads." said Schomberg.

Extra sediment in streams can alter the whole ecosystem from insects to fish. But it's not just sand that's making it to our streams, there is all sorts of debris and contaminants.

Schomberg explains, "Every curb and gutter is kind of like a little tributary to our streams. All the water, all the dirt, all the litter, anything, grade clippings fertilizer pesticides, anything that lands on that gutter or on the street when it rains gets washed right into our streams."

It's up to us to keep the infrastructure of our storm water runoff clean.
Adding a rain barrel to capture rain off your roof to re-purpose is just one example.

"By capturing some of your roof runoff, by building a rain garden in your yard, a depression that will hold water and store it on your yard instead of letting it runoff. Those things will help keep water out of the streams, they will make the stream flow lower, they will help reduce some flooding a little bit and they'll help reduce erosion's in our streams." says Schomberg.

On Saturday, May 17th the Western Lake Superior Sanitary district will host a truckload sale of Systern Rain Barrels and Earth Machine Composters for a reduced price.

Meteorologist Adam Lorch