Educating the Community

Raising awareness about nonpoint source pollution solutions

Slow, Spread, Soak

Designing your landscape and our cities to slow down, spread out, and soak in the rain contributes to cleaner rivers and lakes and a healthier community. This way of managing stormwater runoff is also known as Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure. Check out our Slow, Spread, Soak brochure.

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens are shallow depressions filled with native plants designed to catch and absorb stormwater runoff from roofs, streets, parking lots and other areas.

Rain Barrels

Rain barrels collect rainwater from your roof and store it for later use such as watering your landscape. Rainwater harvesting can also be done on a larger scale by homeowners, businesses and industries using larger cistern systems that collect rainwater for landscape irrigation, toilet flushing, and industrial non-drinking uses.

Native Landscaping

Landscaping with native plants can help reduce the amount of runoff from your property. Native plants have much deeper roots systems than typical non-native turf grass, helping more rainwater to soak into the soil.


Trees help to reduce the amount of runoff and pollution reaching our streams in several ways. The leaves, branches, and bark intercept and store rainnwater. Through evapotranspiration, trees take up water from the soil, making room for more to soak in. Tree roots increase the capacity and rate at which water soaks into the ground. The tree canopy also reduces erosion caused by the impact of raindrops hitting bare soil.

Green Roofs

A green roof is a vegetated roof. Green roofs reduce the amount of runoff and pollution reaching our streams while also providing many other benefits including air quality and energy efficiency. The plants on the roof take up and use rainwater through evapotranspiration.

Pervious Pavement

Unlike conventional pavement used for streets, driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks, pervious pavement allows rainwater to soak into the ground, reducing the amount of runoff and pollution reaching our streams. There are many different kinds of pervious pavement, including pervious concrete and asphalt, and concrete, grass, and gravel paver systems.

Other Slow, Spread, Soak Resources


Grab It & Bag It - Keep Poo-lution Out of Our Streams

Pet waste can end up in our streams and waterways when it rains. Especially in urban areas with a lot of pavement or in areas where waterways are nearby. Pet waste carries bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are unhealthy for you and your kids as well as for our beautiful streams. It also contains nutrients that promote algae growth, making our waterways green. We want to remind people that live in urban areas to pick up their pet waste and dispose of it properly. This action also helps to keep our yards and shoes clean! How to dispose of pet waste? Pet waste can be picked up using a bag and disposed of in the regular trash. As an alternative it can be buried. Congratulations to Rowdy and his owner Linden for submitting the winning photo for our Grab It & Bag It postcard!

Education Highlights

Fassnight Creek Mural

Karesse Wilkey and mural

OTC Fine Arts student Karesse Wilkey's mural underneath the Campbell Street bridge in Fassnight Park helps educate the public about nonpoint source pollution. See more photos in the Education Photo Gallery.

Mural Summary

Artist's Summary: The purpose of the mural is to spread awareness of nonpoint source pollution, which is pollution to our water that we all do throughout our daily lives without even realizing the consequences of our actions. The hand is representative of us as humans. It holds the suburban housing area, leaking from it the water, for we are very much in control of how clean our water stays. The water falls from the hand, goes into our rivers and streams (affecting the wildlife, represented by the indigenous red-eared slider turtles and heron), and is finally evaporated into the air to rain down on our lands once more. This visually displays the process of the water cycle and the numerous lives the purity of our water effects on a regular basis. Overall, the mural conveys the words: It's in our hands. Our actions make a difference. Help keep our water clean.

Grant Milestones for Education