Little Wings, Big Waves: How Bees Clean Our Waterways
In North America there are over 4,000 species of native bees. They are extremely important to humans and help plants reproduce through pollination. One of every three bites of food eaten worldwide depends on pollinators, especially bees, for a successful harvest.
Bees are critical to our entire ecosystem. Despite their importance in our everyday lives, pollinator populations continue to decline. Habitat loss and fragmentation caused by the expansion of "ecologically barren" grass lawns and fields, urban sprawl, excessive use of pesticides and invasive species create an uphill battle pollinators must fight to survive.
What can you do to help pollinators?
- Provide habitat by planting native flowers that bloom during different seasons. In return, these plants support stormwater assets by acting as a physical filter and prevents erosion;
- Offer pollinators a drink by placing a shallow dish of water on your deck or windowsill;
- Leave the leaves to provide food and shelter in the winter; and
- Limit the use of pesticides.
Next time you see a pollinator – friend buzzing around, take a second to appreciate the hard work they are doing to support plants, animals and even our waterways. Their little wings make a big impact!
A smart look forward to summer gardening
For many people, May is the true beginning of summer gardening. And while achieving a lush green lawn, beautiful flowers, and hearty summer vegetables are understandable gardening goals, some gardening and lawn care practices can have detrimental effects on our local water resources. In keeping with our city’s efforts to reduce the effects of stormwater pollution, there are a few gardening tips that will minimize the impact on our local waters:
- Fertilize sparingly. If you must fertilizer, September is the best month. And be sure to use slow-release fertilizer.
- If you must fertilize more than once, don’t fertilize in the spring until you have mowed the lawn three times.
- Check the weather forecast before fertilizer or pesticide applications, and don’t apply lawn chemicals when there is rain predicted. It increases the chances of those chemicals washing right into local waters.
- If any lawn chemicals or yard debris get on the sidewalk or driveway, sweep them back onto the lawn to prevent them from washing into storm drains. Even grass clippings and excess leaves don’t belong in our streams and rivers.
Halloween will be here before you can say, “Boo!” So, as you prepare for that spooky, kooky holiday coming up, take a few minutes to incorporate these simple stormwater-friendly tricks and tips into your fall activities.
- Ban that bag
When your little superheroes and princesses go trick-or-treating, be sure they use a reusable bag to collect their treats. Canvas bags and pillowcases are great alternatives to plastic or even paper bags, and they are much sturdier.
- Don’t be a trash monster
Remind your little trick-or-treaters to never throw candy wrappers on the ground as they’ll flow into our creeks and rivers once the next rain event happens.
- Recycle costumes
When photos last forever, and every Halloween requires a new look, A LOT of costumes end up getting worn once and discarded. Instead of tossing your costumes in the trash, or banishing them to a box in the attic, why not give them to charity? You can also trade with family and/or friends, OR stuff ‘em and use them in your garden as scarecrows!
- October 20: Rivers Cleanup
- November 14: Fall Electronic Recycling Day
- November 9: "Love Where You Live” Monthly Road Cleanup
- November 21: "Love Where You Live” Monthly Road Cleanup
- December 16: "Love Where You Live” Monthly Road Cleanup
For more information or to volunteer, please call Angela Bray at 229.259.3530. Remember, only rain goes down the storm drain!
Winter is one of the best times to plant a tree! Many excellent varieties are available at your local nursery, with some of the best trees available in the winter. Your new tree will use the winter dormant season to establish new roots. When spring arrives, your tree will be on its way to providing shade for generations to come.
While it may seem obvious that planting a tree is a good thing, here are some reasons which may not have occurred to you.
- Well-placed trees can save you money on your utility bills. In the summer, trees shade your roof and windows and cool the air around your house as they breathe. In the winter, evergreens can block cold north winds.
- Trees of course clean the air by creating oxygen and keep our city cooler by reducing the “heat island” effect, caused by concrete and asphalt storing and reflecting heat.
- Trees are increasingly recognized for their importance in managing runoff. Their leaf canopies help reduce erosion caused by falling rain. They also provide surface area where rainwater lands and evaporates. Roots take up water and help create conditions in the soil that promote infiltration.
The best time to plant a tree in Valdosta is between November and March.