Waterwise Wednesday: Spring Sprinkler Tips

Image may contain: sky, grass, outdoor and natureProperly maintained irrigation systems use water efficiently and reduce water waste. Use these tips for more effective watering:1. Clear Your Head(s). Sprinkler heads and nozzles may need to be cleared of debris or replaced if they’re worn out or broken. Look for improved designs in spray heads and nozzles that apply less water more uniformly allowing water to infiltrate instead of simply evaporate or run off. Minimize evaporation, wind, inefficient irrigation methods and systems that create runoff with good systems and good timing.

2. Check the time. Install a fresh set of batteries in the timer and check the programming schedule to water in the cooler, still times of day. Rain or moisture sensors can further reduce over or ineffective watering. According the EPA, ” a home with an automatic irrigation system that isn’t properly programmed or maintained can waste as much as 30,000 gallons of water annually.”

3. Connect well: Check for leaks where heads connect to hoses or pipes. Pooling areas indicate leaks that need immediate repair. A leak about as small as the tip of a ballpoint pen (or 1/32nd of an inch) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.

4. And Remember – have the testable backflow prevention device on the lawn system checked once every five years by a certified plumber. It protects the municipal water supply that serves not only the lawn, but also quenches the thirst of our residents.

Waterwise Wednesday: Spring has Sprung and Lawn Work has Begun!

Amidst the activity, we ask your help in protecting our water quality and MS4 with appropriate fertilizer application. Fertilizer in water causes large algae blooms, hypoxic (dead) zones in water as it decays, and can be toxic to water supply systems. These consequences are easy to prevent with proper application.

Fertilizing Tips:
1. Apply during calm dry weather to prevent spread into unwanted areas.
2. Apply as directed – excessive lawn feeding contributes to ground water contamination.
3. Sweep fertilizer back on the grass if it falls on the sidewalk or other impervious surface to keep it out of the storm sewer.
4. Consider grass clippings or compost as natural alternatives.

Waterwise Wednesday: The Value of a Tree

If one medium sized Austrian Pine in Frank Park works this hard for our community, imagine the value of all trees in our city:
– Overall monetary Benefit $78
– Runoff Prevention in gallons (1,413)
– Storm water Monetary Benefit $38
– Property value total $11
– Energy saved (KWh) 116
– Natural gas savings $14
– Heat Prevention 14 Therms
– Energy Savings $9
– Pollutants removed 1.59 lbs.
– Air Quality Monetary Benefit $4.53
– Carbon stored 270 lbs.
– Carbon sequestered 82 lbs.
– Carbon avoided 195 lbs.
– Carbon Monetary Benefit $2.03

 

Thanks to Amanda Shepperd at the North Platte NRD for sharing this information about our city’s trees.

Waterwise Wednesday: Seeing Salty Sidewalks

If there is a layer of salt remaining on the driveway or sidewalk after the ice melts, too much salt got sprinkled. If you find excess sand or salt, sweep it up and throw it away so that it is not washed into the storm sewer.

One teaspoon of salt is enough to contaminate five gallons of water forever. Salts, like the de-icers we use in winter, stay in water without settling out contaminating and damaging the North Platte River and freshwater lakes where we fish.

Waterwise Wednesday: Turn Your Home into a Stormwater Pollution Solution!

This web site links to an EPA homeowner’s guide to healthy
habits for clean water that provides tips for better vehicle and
garage care, lawn and garden techniques, home improvement, pet
care, and more.

is a first national snapshot of NPS activities underway across the United States and the people who are making it happen
EPA.GOV

Waterwise Wednesday: What’s Hidden in the Melting Snow

Photo by L. Sato
Avenue B Outfall                  Photo Credit:  L. Sato

As warmer weather melts the snow piles around town, the runoff makes its way to the city’s outfalls where the contaminants can be seen. The swirled sheen on the water’s surface is oil that was trapped in the snow. Snow traps oils, salts and sediment that are released into the runoff as the snow melts. Snowmelt runoff is one of largest sources of urban water pollution.

 

 

Waterwise Wednesday: The Scottsbluff Drain, Then and Now

Scottsbluff circa 1940. Photo courtesy of Platte Valley Museum

Built in 1918, the Scottsbluff Drain originally intercepted groundwater from farm land northwest of the city and redirected it around the budding city to the North Platte River. The photo from the North Platte Valley Museum archives shows Scottsbluff around 1940. The large building is Scottsbluff High School, now Bluffs Middle School. Northwest of the school’s track is a smaller building where Webber’s Furniture now sits on the north end of Broadway.

Today the drain carries groundwater, irrigation wastewater, and stormwater runoff from the part of the county and the majority of the north and northeast sections of town, as seen in the map from MC Schaff. While the city has grown, the Drain remains the nearly the same almost 100 years later.

 

Map courtesy of MC Schaff & Associates

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Waterwise Wednesday: Five Things You Should Never Put Down a Drain

Clogs from Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) are easily preventable:

  • Don’t pour FOG down the drain
  • Pour cooled fats, oils and grease into a container and put the container in the trash. If you don’t have a container, place tin foil into a coffee cup or similar, add FOG, allow to cool and dispose.
  • Before washing, use a paper napkin or paper towel to wipe FOG from dishes and dispose of it in the trash
  • Use sink strainers to catch food waste
  • Put food scraps in the trash, not through the garbage disposal.

This USA Today video from MSN.com shows a few other substances that should also be kept out of the drain: 5 Things You Should Never Put Down a Drain

 

Waterwise Wednesday: Best Choices for De-icing

1. Scoop snow onto the lawn before it melts and creates an ice layer. It’s the most environmentally friendly for plants, animals, and concrete. Plus there’s the benefit of exercise.

2. No-salt de-icer. If an ice layer does form, scoop the snow to the yard, then employ a no salt deicer to melt the ice layer for easier removal. Look for labels containing magnesium acetate (CMA) which is less harmful to animals and plants. Follow directions on the package for use, CMA is often blended with other ingredients for effectiveness that may become harmful to plants or animals in larger quantities.

3. Salt as a last resort. Salt is highly corrosive, can irritate a pet’s paws or children’s skin, burn the plants it contacts, and leach into the soil. Use salt “Sparingly and Caringly” about .08 ounce, just under a ½ teaspoon, per square foot where there’s high pedestrian traffic. Salts are often listed as chlorides -sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, or calcium chloride – on deicer packaging.

 

 

Wildflower Week

2016 Wildflower Week is Friday, June 3 – Sunday, June 12

Nebraska Statewide Arboretum serves as coordinator for statewide Wildflower Week activities, bringing together organizations and individuals across the state who recognize the value of wildflowers—not only for their beauty but also for what they imply and symbolize.  For more events statewide: http://arboretum.unl.edu/wildflower-week

Thursday, June 2nd

  • 10:00 AM –Noon  Great Plants Planting – 2975 Country Club Road, Gering
  • 1:00-3:00 PM: Legacy of the Plains –  Plant ID Presentation
  • 5:00 -7:00 PM Charlie Fenster Memorial Tree Planting –  East end of Northfield Arboretum   Postponed until Fall (as of 5/20/2016)

Friday, June 3rd

  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Downtown Arboretum Tour, Public Invited.  Meet at Lot 3, Across from West Nebraska Arts Center
  • 11:00 – Noon @ Godfathers The Garden Coffee Break – with Bob Henrickson and Justin Evertson, Nebraska Statewide Arboretum
    • Please arrive a few minutes early to get your buffet meal and proceed to the meeting room
    • 30 minute NSA presentation
    • 30 minute tour of Well House
  • Aulick’s TLC
    • 3:00-4:00 pm –Aulick’s TLC Great Plants for the Great Plains Planting Demonstration – a discussion of plant choices and placement to help add western beauty to the home landscape. Outdoor activity.
    • 4:00-5:00 pm:  Landscape and Garden Plants for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects: Walk the greenhouse to learn how different plants attract pollinators and other beneficial insects.
  • 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM  Wildcat Wildflower Nature Hike with possible Shooting Range Plant Demo

Saturday, June 4th

  • 9:00 AM – Noon Chadron State College planting project, 1000 Main Street. Contact:  Lucinda Mays at lmays@csc.edu
  • 1-2pm campus tour, 1000 Main Street. lmays@csc.edu