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Protect local creeks, streams as well as air quality

By Staff | Apr 1, 2011

This is my fourth season for writing columns in The Shepherdstown Chronicle about the local air quality program and the air quality issues we face. I would like to thank The Chronicle for its continued support of the air quality program. My air quality columns will continue next month.

This month I want to present another environmental issue to The Chronicle’s readers, one equally as important as the quality of our air – that would be the quality of our local creeks, streams and groundwater.

We hear a lot about water pollution problems that start at an industrial site, a water treatment plant or from farmers. One area that does not receive as much coverage is the unnecessary pollution generated by lawn care products used by homeowners. As homeowners, we can be part of the problem or part of the solution. Like the local air quality program, individual participation in this project will be a big part of its success.

The Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council (Region 9) is working with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to assess local residents’ use and knowledge of the fertilizers and herbicides they apply to their lawns. Proper use of fertilizers and herbicides can give you a green healthy lawn. Improper use of these lawn care products can harm your lawn, be a drain to your wallet and pollute our local waters.

This lawn care project has three phases.

During the first phase, a survey will be available for residents to complete. From the completed surveys, we will assess local residents’ knowledge of fertilizers and herbicides and their current use patterns.

The second phase will be education and outreach to homeowners in the region. This phase will include how to properly use lawn care products and offer alternatives to using fertilizers to achieve a healthy lawn.

The third phase will be a follow-up survey to assess what residents have learned and how they are using this new knowledge.

Region 9 has established a link on its website for individuals to take the lawn care survey. The survey is available for residents to complete through Earth Day, April 22, it should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

I hope you will take the survey and become an active participant in this project. Please log onto the Region 9 website at the following address to take the survey: www.region9wv.com/ProjectsPrograms.aspx.

Mike Ball is the Air Quality Program Manager for the Eastern Panhandle Regional Planning and Development Council. He can be reached at 263-1743 x3602 and at mball@region9wv.com.