Homeowners who live along ponds and other waterways have a greater responsibility to live "river-friendly" since these properties have an immediate connection with surface waters, and the practices on these properties affect everyone enjoying the water downstream. Start with considering how you maintain your property and your pond.
- Riparian buffers are a first line of defense for a stream or lake. Riparian buffers are a width of vegetation along the shoreline of a waterbody that stops or slows runoff; plants uptake excess nutrients and trap sediments; bacteria can be destroyed through natural processes; water can infiltrate to the groundwater, slowing the rush of runoff to waterways. Healthy riparian buffers can be as minimal as 8 feet wide to remove sediment to more than 30 feet wide to remove nitrogen from affecting waterways. Buffers can also stabilize the shoreline and prevent loss of property and sediment being added to the lake or river.
- Have the lawn mowed at the recommended height for your grass type. Information on lawn care and mowing can be found through Clemson's Home and Garden Information Center at http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/landscape/lawns/hgic1205.html.
- Water wisely! Over-watering wastes clean water that has been treated by your tax dollars! Furthermore, over-watering can injure certain plants and lead to more stormwater runoff. Irrigate lawns early in the morning for efficient water use and to discourage the spread of disease. If water runs off the lawn before an inch is applied, turn the irrigation system off and let the water soak into the lawn for an hour before continuing.
- Make sure you know what chemicals are being applied and why they are necessary. Further, request that the company properly dispose of fertilizer or pesticide containers.
The Carolina Clear NPS Toolbox has more information and resources on these topics as well.
The Carolina Yards & Neighborhoods Program (www.clemson.edu/cyn) recognizes homeowners that implement the principles of environmental landscape management. By using these environmentally friendly landscape practices, homeowners can make positive changes in the environmental quality of their yards, neighborhoods and surrounding waterways. The Carolina YardStick Workbook shows you how to create attractive and healthy yards by working with South Carolina's environment, rather than against it.