Composting Ideas

Compost is ready to use when it is dark, brown and crumbly with an earthy odor. It should not be moldy and rotten. Compost should be somewhat fluffy and does not have to be powdery. The original materials should not be recognizable in the compost. Incompletely decomposed materials used in gardens will compete for nitrogen with the soil.

Waterwise Wednesday: A Mower’s Lament

Yardwaste ranks as one of the top five surface water pollutants in the United States. Clippings in storm drains create nutrient overload that feed algal blooms and bacteria. The bacteria, who breathe dissolved oxygen in the water, decrease oxygen enough to kill off fish, aquatic insects, and other aquatic plants. This results in a hypoxic area, or dead zone, in the water.

Put grass clippings to better use:

– sweep or blow them back on the lawn for natural fertilizer
– use as mulch in the garden or a weed blanket along the alley
– compost it
– put in the yardwaste dumpster and the let the City compost it at the Yardwaste Facility

Waterwise Wednesday: I’m Melting

. . .So said the Wicked Witch of the West. And Greenland’s ice sheet too.

The second largest ice sheet in the world, lost a near record breaking 11 billion metric tons in a single day to the ocean last Thursday, August 1. (That’s about 4.4 million Olympic swimming pools worth of water.) Unusually high temperatures, 30 to 40 degrees above average, contributed to the record melt. Globally, heatwaves also created ice melts in Arctic tundra, Greenland fjords and European Alpine peaks where it usually stays permanently frozen.

Photo © Tomasz Tulik

Waterwise Wednesday: Why Water Management Matters

Photo © Norlito Gumapac

Chennai, India’s sixth largest city with 4.5 million people, has run out of water.

According to a study by the Anna University, Chennai lost 33 per cent of its wetlands and 24 percent of its agricultural land, (crucial for improving groundwater table) in the last one decade. Drought coupled with rampant development and construction built on reclaimed water bodies are largely to blame.


Waterwise Wednesday: Black Water

Photo © creativecommonsstockphotos

Cities flush fire hydrants to make sure the hydrants work properly and rid the system mains of corrosion, rust, and sediment.

If faucet water is dark or discolored after a City hydrant flush simply run the tap until the water is clear again. The black sediment is naturally occurring maganese that has reacted with sodium hypochlorite that is used to protect water from contamination as it travels through the pipe system.

Waterwise Wednesday: Tree Watering

Trees, like people, appreciate water during hot spells.

Poke a tool like a long screw driver into the soil near the tree. If the ground is rock solid, it’s time to water. If it’s wet or muddy hold off.

Many of a tree’s roots rest between 12-24 inches below the surface – so a long slow sprinkle of 1 to 2 inches of water should help reach these roots (unless it’s competing with lawn turf). Move the hose around the root zone, which reaches about 1.5 times the height of the tree, to cover the entire root system when watering.

Photo: South Broadway Plaza May 2019 by L. Sato

Rain Barrels on Display

By diverting the runoff from our roof, there will be a reduction in stormwater runoff into nearby waterways- such as the Wood River and Platter River. An average barrel costs between $50 and $120. You can make your own out of any used water tight container.

Waterwise Wednesday: Water Harvesting

Capture and reuse rain runoff to supplement regular watering and reduce demand on the public water system with these ideas.

1. Gently mound dirt along a plant’s dripline to hold and infiltrate runoff.

2. Re-use household wastewater from dehumidifiers or air conditioning condensers for irrigation.

3. Install a rain barrel or cistern. Rain barrels can store the water until the weather turns dry and is needed.

4. Plant a rain garden – the basin will hold runoff while providing the yard with color and pollinator habitat.

Photo via gilintx via Flickr CC

Stormwater Landscaping Ideas

This form of Stormwater Best Management Practice needs a few things to keep in mind: the infiltration rate must be slow enough to lose pollutants but fast enough to avoid prolonged periods of ponded water. It’s usually thought that 24 hours draw down time is optimal.