Reducing Pollutants to Urban Streams through “Business Friends” Incentives
PI: Laura Wilson, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Sediment, nutrients and other nonpoint source pollutants threaten the quality of waters in the state of Maine . Nonpoint source pollution originates from diffuse land areas that may intermittently supply pollutants to the atmosphere, surface, or groundwater. One such land use is the urban landscape. The results of urbanization are twofold: more precipitation converts to runoff, and runoff moves from land to surface waters more rapidly. Changing land from forested to suburban or urban also increases the movement of substances carried by runoff from land to surface waters. Suburban and urban landscapes poorly maintained or treated with excessive inputs of fertilizers may contribute to excess nutrients and sediments in stormwater runoff. By reducing excess fertilizers and promoting good landscape health, we reduce the threat of those nutrients reaching and polluting our water resources.
We will focus our efforts in the Birch Stream watershed in Bangor , Maine . Business and institutional landowners will be given one-on-one education and training in water-friendly, low impact lawn care. Businesses that participate and change their practices will be rewarded with incentives and recognition.
As a result of this project, nutrient inputs to the urban impaired Birch Stream in Bangor will be reduced. In addition, local business land managers will learn the connection between their land use and stream water quality, and will learn better turf management techniques. Local schoolchildren will be involved in creating the incentive program, and will learn about stormwater runoff.
The undergraduate student assigned to this project will contact each business/institutional stakeholder in the watershed to determine their current fertilizer practices and offer a soils test for pH and nutrient availability. Businesses that participate in our outreach program will recommendations for low impact lawn management practices. As an incentive to businesses to change to lower-impact practices, managers will be provided with an estimated cost savings if less fertilization is recommended. Businesses that pledge to change practices will be recognized publically for being “friends of Birch Stream” – and given a plaque or window sticker to advertise their good stewardship.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
495 College Ave
Orono , ME 04473