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 are shallow depressions filled with native plants designed to catch and absorb stormwater runoff from roofs, streets, parking lots and other areas.
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.
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.
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.
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
- EPA Video "Reduce Runoff: Slow it down, spread it out, soak it in"
- University of Arkansas LID Manual - This guidebook put out by the University's Community Design Center is a visually stimulating and informative book containing great graphics and provoking thoughts about low impact development and the way we design our homes and cities.
- Low Impact Development
- Using Rainwater to Grow Livable Communities
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!
Fassnight Creek 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.
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
- Eight workshops/field days.
- Healthy Lawns Make Healthy Watersheds Workshop Aug 28, 2012 (pdf)
- Sustainable Landscape Professionals Certification Workshop Feb 7, 2012 (pdf)
- OTC Class Field Trip - A field trip for OTC students was held on Nov 5, 2013 to learn about stormwater and tour Big Urbie projects.
- Four Project WET workshops.
- A Stormwater Management for Educators summer class was coordinated in June 2013 by Big Urbie partner Project WET.
- Three brochures on low impact development, pet waste, and rainwater harvesting. Status: Complete
- Water quality activities at eight schools
- Public service announcements, articles in local and regional magazines, presentations to homeowners associations.
- A public service announcement about Big Urbie ran on KSMU radio for multiple months.
- Volunteer work days, agency and organizational newsletters, brochures and other educational materials.
- Two volunteer stream cleanups and 1 volunteer tree planting have been completed.
- Stormwater video series. Status: Complete
- EPA's video "Reduce Runoff: Slow It Down, Spread it Out, Soak It In" aired on the City of Springfield's CityView cable channel on Mondays and Saturdays during the month of Dec 2012.