October 16th– October 22nd was Stormwater Awareness week. This is a regional effort to raise stormwater awareness throughout our community. Typically, the week consists of public education campaigns through various forms of media as well as activities and events relating directly to stormwater.
This year our office chose to educate the public through a series of daily video releases. Each staff member provided a little education on what they do here at the district. Check out our facebook page to see the weekly video series.
When it rains, we often become much more aware of the water around us.
But we should be thinking about stormwater, even when it doesn’t rain!
If we are aware, then we can begin to understand the relationship between landscape (both built and natural) and stormwater runoff.
Consider the following:
- Hard surfaces such as parking lots and roof tops increase the amount and speed of water flowing off the site. After just one inch of rainfall, the runoff from a one-acre parking lot could fill a backyard swimming pool with 26,000 gallons of water. 1
- The deeper the root structure of a plant, the better is it at allowing water to soak into the ground. The grasses on our lawns have a very shallow root structure. Approximately 80 percent of rainwater runs off a lawn – it does not soak into the ground. 1
- Mature trees are great at absorbing stormwater through interception (water landing on their leaves, branches or trunks) and their roots help to increase the amount of water that can be stored in the soil. A forest can absorb 2 to 4 times the amount of water per hour that turf grass can absorb. 2
Hopefully, this information makes you more aware of the fact that what we do on the landscape can greatly affect what happens when it rains!
1 Howard County Stormwater Solutions Website
2 Huron Watershed Council Website
Blog Author: Carla Regener, Natural Resources Program Manager