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What is an Estuary? > Climate > Geology > Surface Water > Ground Water > Aquatic Habitat > Upland Habitat > Ecological Processes > Animals and Plants > Socioeconomic Values > Human Impacts and Pollution > Where does Your water come from? > Management Issues > Protecting YOUR Watershed
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Protecting Our Watershed: What YOU Can Do to Help

There are many things that you and your family can do at home to help keep our watershed clean (and, therefore, keep our water clean!):

Educate yourself about the ecology of your watershed. You're doing a great job so far!

Reduce the amount of water you use.
- Don't let the water run when you brush your teeth.
- Take showers instead of baths.
- Wash dishes in a dishpan instead of under running water or a dishwasher.
- Water your lawn early in the day or late in the evening to reduce evaporation by the heat of the sun.
- Use a soaker hose (special type of hose) instead of a sprinkler when feasible.
- Report any leaky faucets or hoses immediately.

Reduce toxic chemicals used in and around your home.
- Read the labels on your cleaners. Use non-toxic, natural cleaning products such as vinegar or baking soda.
- Use laundry soap without phosphates.
- Use non-bleached toilet paper.
- Wash your car on the grass and use a non-phosphate detergent.
- In case of sleet or snow, cover walkways with sand, not salt.
- Reduce the application of flea and tick pesticides on your pets by preventative grooming. Brush your pets frequently and shampoo your pets regularly.
- Reduce the application of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides in your yard. Use a mulching lawnmower and don't mow the grass very short. Learn about biological controls.
- Support farming practices, such as organic farming, that don't apply toxic chemicals.
- Reduce vehicle emissions (and, therefore, acid rain) by walking, biking, carpooling, and using public transportation.

Put trash in its place. Reduce, reuse, and recycle (in that order!).
- Reduce your use of heavily packaged or non-recyclable products.
- Reuse bags, containers, and paper, and use washable diapers.
- Recycle glass, paper, aluminum, and cardboard properly.
- Compost yard clippings and trimmings. Learn what types of food leftovers can be composted.

Reduce disease-carrying waste.
- Pick up after your pet and dispose of waste in the toilet or garbage.

Reduce erosion around your home.
- Cover cleared land with vegetation. Cover newly seeded soil with straw.
- If you farm, do not overwater plants. Plant wind breaks. On hilly land, plant on terraced land, not along the slope. Do not allow animals to overgraze.

If you live along a river or stream:
- Maintain a buffer of vegetation (a riparian zone) along the river at least 25 feet (8 meters) wide.
- Maintain diverse habitat structure to promote biodiversity through landscape architecture, yard maintenance, and gardening.