Did you know that about 70% of pollution in our waterways comes from stormwater runoff? Native plants can slow that runoff to a crawl or stop it altogether. And a good planting also supports our all-important pollinators at the same time. Take the Native Plant & Pollinator pledge to protect our water with native plants.
Over many millennia, native plants have become experts at surviving the periods of dry weather. One adaptation that made this possible is the long and robust root systems common to these plants. Big root systems benefit our water in three primary ways.
- Save water and money
Native plants don’t need to be watered like many exotic or ornamental plants. While some might flag a bit during the driest conditions, they usually won’t perish. Because they don’t need additional water besides the rain, we can use less of our water supply on our landscaping, saving money and reducing stress on water supplies.
- Reduction in ponding and flooding
Native plant roots facilitate the infiltration of stormwater. In other words, when it rains, native plants help the water soak into the ground. Used wisely, this strategy can reduce ponding and flooding, and it prevents pollution from running to our waterways.
- Natural filter for pollutants
Native plant roots are tremendous filters. When it rains, stormwater runoff washes over the landscape collecting fertilizers, bacteria from pet waste, pesticides, oils, sediment, and other pollutants that come from our yards, sidewalks, and driveways. The roots of native plants absorb this polluted stormwater and filter out pollutants so they don’t enter our waterways.
To learn more about the benefits of planting native plants, watch this short video from Gunpowder Riverkeeper’s Youtube page.
Let’s Build a Rain Garden!
Rain gardens are designed to improve local water quality and reduce the impacts of stormwater on area streams. Communities around the country have experienced dramatic reductions in stormwater pollution, due to many homeowners installing rain gardens on their properties.
Gunpowder Riverkeeper’s MyHarford.ClearChoicesCleanWater.org campaign is sponsored by Harford County Department of Public Works
through a grant administered by the Chesapeake Bay Trust.