The Middle River and or Tributaries flow through or borders my property.
What can I do?
Restore Riparian Buffers: Plant native trees and shrubs along your stream. These plants act as a wildlife corridor and also serve to soak up excess nutrients and sediment before they pollute the waterway. Their shade cools the water and increases dissolved oxygen levels, too. There are private and public funds available to assist and you can get more information on Riparian Buffers here.
If You Are a Farmer: Consider installing streamside fencing and alternative water to keep livestock out of the stream. Not only does this help the Middle River, but it also helps to improve herd health. There are private and public funds available to assist you in this. Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District is a good place to start.
Use Best Management Practices: The Valley boasts rich farming land. By installing Best Management Practices (BMPs) on your farm to conserve and protect your soil and water, both your livestock and water quality will be the beneficiaries. Call Headwaters Soil and Water Conservation District to learn more and seek assistance.
Consider Conservation Landscaping: Think about what you plant and how you alter your property before digging begins. Use native vegetation that will hold soil in place and attract and support wildlife.
Shrubs, perennials, ground covers, and grasses all help restore natural areas. You'll also benefit honeybees, native bees, and insects when you plant native flowering plants and shrubs that provide both nectar and habitat. Especially, plant native trees and shrubs.
Rain Garden: If your property is suitable, build a rain garden. A rain garden is a natural or strategically placed manmade depression in the ground. It collects and stores water runoff that is slowly filtered and absorbed into the soil. Plants in a rain garden should be capable of thriving in alternating wet and dry conditions.
Consider using rain barrels to capture roof runoff; you can prevent the water from going into storm drains and, at the same time, reduce your irrigation needs when you use the water for plants.
Check Soil Quality: Only apply the nutrients that are needed. If your soil has not been tested in the past three years, get a soil test done and use it to address your soil's needs for nutrition and pH (acidity) adjustments for the lawn — and landscape/garden. Avoid additional phosphorus applications if it's not needed; phosphorus-free fertilizers are now available. It takes only very small quantities of phosphorus in waterways to cause serious problems such as algae bloom. Phosphorus is essential for plant growth and development, including turf, but too much increases the possibility of problems. Many lawns fertilized with 10-10-10 for years have so much phosphorus in the soil, they could be mined for fertilizer.
Use nitrogen in moderation. Up to one pound nitrogen per 1,000 square feet over four to six weeks is all a cool-season lawn needs for spring. Apply nitrogen with a slow-release fertilizer (indicated on the bag) so you get efficient, long-lasting results. Make sure the fertilizer lands in the turf, not on the driveways or sidewalk where rain can wash it into storm drains that lead to waterways where pollution can occur.
Mow Properly: Start the mowing season off right with a sharp, properly balanced mower blade. Tall fescue can be mowed at two to three inches during spring's favorable weather conditions; by mid- to late spring, raise the mower to higher levels so the grass can adapt to the hotter, drier summer months. Large mowed areas are like deserts to honey bees, native bees and other pollinators. Consider reducing your lawn and planting more native natural flora.
Protect Groundwater: Never dump hazardous chemicals onto the ground where they can seep into our groundwater. Recycle and dispose of these materials properly. Take care of those sinkholes.
Pump your septic system: If your home has a septic system, remember to schedule a pump-out every three to five years. Leaky septic systems can pollute the surrounding groundwater and wells.
Natural Pest Deterrents: In your gardens use natural pest deterrents rather than harmful pesticides.
Discard toxic household items (batteries, paint, motor oil, etc.) responsibly. Augusta County hosts a Hazardous Waste Collection Day every fall.
Practice Water Conservation: Avoid wasting precious water by fixing leaky faucets and taking shorter showers. Leaving a faucet running while brushing your teeth can waste two gallons a minute! Take short showers. An eight-minute shower uses 40 gallons of water.
Get Outdoors: The Middle River watershed supports an array of recreational opportunities for fishing, photography, wildlife watching, relaxing, and river habitat exploring. Getting to know and understand the river ecosystem gives us knowledge and appreciation to support her.
Join FOMR: Be a Friend of Middle River and give your time or money or both.