Clean up the Mississippi River
Without leaving your yard

Keep grass and leaves off the street

If you were the Mississippi River, you'd know that leaves and grass clippings are a big threat to your health. When leaves or grass clippings are left on streets, alleys, sidewalks or driveways, they get washed into the storm drains and then directly into the Mississipi River. As they decay, they give off nutrients and upset the delicate balance of plant and animal life in the river.

The problem becomes enormous when you consider that the watershed extends for miles from the Mississippi River's banks. In other words, you don't have to live near the river to harm it.

However, that also means you don't have to live next to the river to help.

What is urban
runoff ?

You can see urban runoff every time it rains, or in the spring when the snow melts - water runs off the roofs, trickles across parking lots and flows down street gutters.

In urban areas, most water from rain, snowmelt or from sprinking your yard flows through storm drains and into a vast network of pipes. These pipes carry water directly from your neighborhood to our local rivers, streams and wetlands. This water becomes polluted when it picks up things like grass clippings, leaves, pesticides, motor oil and pet waste and flushes them into storm drains and eventually into the Mississippi River.

These small things can make a big difference: Compost leaves and grass clippings in your backyard or bag them for pick up.

Leave lawn clippings on the lawn. They provide valuable nutrients. Grass clippings left on your lawn are equal to one fertilizer application per year.

Sweep up and recycle clippings that fall on the sidewalk, driveway, alley or street. Sweeping clippings into the street is just like sweeping them into the Mississippi River.


For More Information

Contact the Saint Paul Neighborhood Energy Consortium at 651-221-4462.

And Fido, too!

Never leave pet waste on the driveway, street, alley, sidewalk or lawn. Decaying pet waste carries disease-causing bacteria that make water unsafe for swimming and drinking. Bacteria from pet waste can make its way into storm drains and travel directly into the Mississippi River and other bodies of water. Throw it in the trash, flush it down the toilet or bury it.

Click here to return to the WaterShed Resources Home Page

Center for Global Environmental Education
Hamline University Graduate School of Education
1536 Hewitt Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104-1284
Phone: 651-523-2480 Fax: 651-523-2987