Be a Watershed Champion

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What you can do to become a watershed champion

Here are some of the ways you can become a watershed champion.

Boating

  • Safely dispose of boating trash on land.

  • Don’t discharge boat sewage into the bays.  

  • Marina owners: make it easy for boaters to clean out holding tanks and safely dispose of other boating waste.

Cigarette butts
  • Cigarette butts are litter, too.

  • Use portable ashtrays.

Fertilizer
  • Follow Sarasota County’s ordinance.

  • Use only as much fertilizer as you need.

  • Don’t fertilize during rainy season.

  • Homeowner associations: make sure your landscape company is IFAS-certified.

Hazardous material disposal 
  • Sarasota County has three hazardous waste disposal sites: Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota, Jackson Road in Venice and at the landfill in Nokomis.

  • Associations: make it easy for residents to dispose of hazardous waste properly.  

NEST
In Sarasota County, Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Teams (NESTs) identify environmental projects to enhance the watershed in their own neighborhoods.
 
Landscaping
  • Choose Florida-friendly plants, grasses.

  • Remove invasive species.

  • Limit turf grass to 50 percent of usable land.

Waterfront landscaping 

  • Create plant buffers along the water.

  • Choose plants that will slow runoff, filter rainfall and soak up nutrients and pollutants.

Lawn maintenance

  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn.

  • Don’t throw grass clippings in streets or storm sewers. 

Litter prevention
  • Everyone can volunteer with Keep Sarasota County Beautiful (KSCB).

  • Homeowner associations: create and participate in your own neighborhood clean-ups.

Low-impact development
  • Decrease the amount of water leaving your property through bioswale retention areas, rain barrels, cisterns, green roofs and pervious surfaces.

  • Builder/developers: don’t clear-cut and pack soil.

 

Businesses

Join the Green Business Partnership, this county-sponsored program encourages environmental stewardship and recognizes businesses that make an extra effort to operate in an environmentally responsible manner.   
Storm drain marking 
  • Create visual reminders that “only rain goes down the (storm) drain.”

  • Everything that goes into a drain eventually winds up in a bay. 

 

Scoop the Poop

Pet waste disposal

  • Always pick up after pets.
  • Dispose of pet waste in the trash (do not flush plastic bag).

 

Runoff Isn't Cute

If runoff looked like this, it would be cute. But there’s nothing cute about pollution. Contact Sarasota Couny’s Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team to find out how you can help reduce stormwater pollution.

 

More Time for Fun

 A beautiful Florida friendly yard requires less water, fertilizer and pesticide, leaving more time for fun. Learn five easy ways to Floridify your yard at www.befloridian.org.

 

Water use / Conservation

 Indoors

  • Everyone:  

    • Turn off the tap to brush your teeth; shorten showers; use full loads for laundry and dishes; 
      maintain toilets and faucets; repair leaks.

    • Install low-flow fixtures and toilets.

  • Businesses: use only as much as you need; instruct employees on water conservation; conduct water use audits; maintain equipment and plumbing; check for leaks.

  • Builder/developers: design and build with water-conserving fixtures (e.g., low flow toilets). 

Outdoors 

  • Everyone:

    • Follow adopted water restrictions; use timers on your sprinkler systems.

    • Turn off sprinklers when it rains.

    • Skip a week of irrigation during the dry season; install drought-tolerant landscape plants and lawn grasses.

    • Use rain barrels or cisterns for watering.

  • Homeowner associations: provide water use and water conservation tips to new members, particularly new residents from out of state.

  • Businesses: install and maintain drought-tolerant landscape plants and lawns. Instruct your employees about ways to conserve water; it may also help reduce your costs.

  • Builders/developers: design communities and homes using drought-tolerant landscape features; install low-flow fixtures, use reclaimed water systems (where available) for irrigation of golf courses and community landscape areas; design facilities to capture stormwater for re-use.