Urban runoff from gardens and hard surfaces is the #1 source of ocean pollution. In that runoff are pollutants such as:
- Pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and sediment (soil)
- Oil, engine exhaust and brake pad dust
- Dog poo… etc.
The first one inch of rain after a dry spell is called the “first flush,” and contains most of the pollutants during a rain storm. Traditional building codes have directed rain water off the property to prevent flooding. Runoff also happens during dry periods, with sprinklers overwatering and overshooting the landscape. In addition, the use of gas-powered equipment to mow lawns and prune and haul away over-planted and improperly spaced vegetation generates air pollutants – that eventually settle onto roofs and streets, and gets washed into waterways. This runoff also contributes to flooding of neighborhoods and erosion of stream banks.
But gardens and hard surfaces can prevent runoff and still be beautiful, resourceful, wildlife-friendly. How? Apply CPR to your property – Conservation, Permeability and Retention, to revive our watersheds and oceans:
- Conservation of water, energy and habitat through native plants and climate adapted plants, spaced for mature growth (the same applies to vegetable and fruit gardens).
- Permeability through mulch and biologically active soil as well as using permeable materials for – or making cuts in existing – driveways, walkways and patios that allow water to percolate into the soil.
- Retention devices like rain chains, rain barrels and swales/dry stream beds soak up rain water in the soil for the dry season or store it to water veggies, preventing it from running off of the property.
The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is committed to improving the health of our beautiful coastline. We work to test and monitor the quality of three local beaches: Campus Point, Pescadero and Sands. We test for the indicator bacteria Enterococcus which, if present at elevated levels, implies that more dangerous bacteria is present in the water. The data that we collect about the overall quality of our beaches will be available on our website soon. We are also commited to addressing the possible decline of the quality of our water by working to prevent runoff, debris and other forms of pollution from entering the ocean. We live in an amazing location and are motivated to keep it beautiful!
Rise above plastics seeks to reduce the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.