April showers bring more than May flowers

Did you know that runoff flows over hard surfaces like parking lots, picking up pollutants along the way? Most runoff is not treated before it travels into our streams, rivers, lakes and Puget Sound.

Since this is the last week of Pierce County Sustainability Month, and May is Puget Sound Starts Here Month, it’s a great time to consider simple actions you can take to prevent water pollution and help clean up our local waterways and Puget Sound.

Only rain down the drain — Most storm drains and ditches in Pierce County lead to a river or stream. Never dump anything down a storm drain and report spills by calling (253) 798-4274;

Fish friendly car care — Wash your car on your lawn or at a commercial car wash. Fix leaks right away, or soak up leaks with cardboard and throw it in the trash. Always recycle used oil. Find a list of used oil recycling locations;

(Puget) Sound pet clean-up — Pick up dog poop, bag it and put it in the trash at home and on walks. For more about the problem with poop, go to http://www.scooppoop.org . Fence livestock away from streams and ditches. More livestock tips;

Natural yard care — Use compost and mulch instead of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. If you must use chemicals on your yard, use them sparingly and always follow the directions. For a green lawn, try a slow release fertilizer like SoundGro;

Plant trees and NW native plants — Landscaping with trees and native plants can save you maintenance time and the cost of fertilizer and water, while keeping our waterways clean. Ask about native plants on your next trip to the nursery or view a comprehensive list of great native plants to consider.

You might think your personal actions don’t matter, but with more than 4 million people in our region, every small action adds up to make a big difference.

For more tips on how to keep Puget Sound and local waterways clean, and to get involved in upcoming events for Puget Sound Starts Here Month this May, visit http://www.piercecountywa.org/pssh .

To learn more about sustainability efforts in Pierce County, visit http://www.piercecountywa.org/sustainability . For more information about surface water management in Pierce County, visit http://www.piercecountywa.org/swm .