What is stormwater?
Why is it a problem?
What you can do
Urban stormwater is the runoff from rain or snowmelt that isn’t absorbed by the natural ground cover. Instead, it runs off an urban property directly into a water body or into storm drains. Most storm sewers are directly connected to rivers and lakes – and all of that untreated water ends up in our water bodies. Urban areas have an increased amount of runoff due to the amount of impervious surfaces (like roads, parking lots, streets, and other forms of pavement).
When water runs off an urban property and washes into the street, along the way it picks up a myriad of pollutants. These pollutants may be trash, motor oil, toxic chemicals, and dog feces, as well as grass clippings and leaves, which add phosphorus to the water. It then flows into the nearest storm drain and is dumped into a lake or river. This impairs water quality and causes excessive algae growth in the summer months.
Many of the streams, rivers and lakes in the Cannon River Watershed are not meeting state standards for aquatic recreation (human use) and aquatic life (wildlife use). Because of these types of pollution, our water becomes less fishable, swimmable, and drinkable. This pollution also adds to the problems in Lake Pepin, the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.
We want to educate urban residents in our watershed about runoff. Take action and be the solution to stormwater pollution! Together we can reach the goal of reducing these pollutants and having cleaner water. Check out our resources on rain gardens and rain barrels and drain stenciling to get involved.