Stewardship is a habit not a single act.

We are all connected. Our community is our watershed. Conserving, repairing, and protecting our watershed requires stewardship. Stewardship can be defined as the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving. The Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District has helpful information on our website as well as a knowledgeable staff that are eager to work with anyone on what can be done to be a steward, or caretaker, of the watershed.

Watersheds typically have large land areas and trying to take on protecting the entire area all at once can be overwhelming. How does one get started? Know where your water goes. Understanding how storm water moves from wherever home is to where it enters a stream is a great first step. This doesn’t just apply to home owners; this applies to everyone. For example, a person can live in an apartment building that is just uphill from a tributary to the Cuyahoga River. The water that runs off this property goes somewhere. When we understand that we are all connected, somewhere now becomes downstream. As water flows downstream problems can flow downstream and it is our job as stewards of our watershed and community to prevent that from happening.

We know how we connect to all of our downstream neighbors so what do we do now? We take a small incremental and beneficial step that improves the quality of water leaving our home on its way downstream. Installing a rain catchment that overflows into a rain garden or other community green space is a good start. Working with your neighbors to improve the quality of water flowing off-site can strengthen community relationships and improve property value.

The rain garden is now full of colorful flowers and bushes that attract song birds and butterflies. Let’s share with our friends and family this small improvement we have made and invite them to join us. The story we can tell can be of the environmental value the rain garden has, or the positive relationship we have created with our neighbors.

Stewardship is a continual process of improving what we care about. We leave what we have better than when we found it.

Check the Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District website for information on upcoming events and workshops.

Remember: 1.We are all connected. 2. Know where your water goes. 3. Take a small incremental and beneficial step that improves your watershed because the steps add up. 4. Share what you are doing to be a good steward with the people in your life and invite them to join you.

“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children.” Native American Proverb

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