Protecting Your Watershed Increases Property Values
By Lucy Hunt
Water is the number one thing this globe needs in order to survive. When we speak about saving the environment, we need to remember that it is not only the habitats or the wildlife we need to think about. Although the earth has a constant supply of water, we nee to remember that the home receiving water from a municipal tap is certainly not of the highest quality.
Being that it’s roasting outside, with temperatures and humidity rising high in almost all sections of the United States, it seems fitting to discuss the concept of water and what our part is in making sure that our watersheds can be saved.
A watershed in the community has positive and negative effects on everything – from humans to wildlife to plants that depend on that water to survive. A well-managed watershed is what you would call an ‘enjoyment’ magnet for the community. We use it for recreation and the wildlife uses it for basic needs. However, what some may forget is that a very well-managed watershed is also the source to help reduce flooding – which, in turn, offers the homeowner and family a much safer house and a reduction in the high insurance bill.
For a little background, ‘watershed’ is not exactly a name that fits. You see, a watershed actually involves much more land than water. The basic concept of the watershed is based on the earth in a specific area that drains to a single source (wetland, lake, stream, ocean). Your very own yard is part of that watershed, which means that anything you do absolutely affects (negatively or positively) that watershed. Any living organism that is in your community watershed will suffer from your misuse.
There are many ways a watershed can be contaminated. One, is construction. More and more buildings being put up in your area can damage your watershed. This will take away from the huge benefits that come with a healthy, restored and/or well-managed waterway.
With a clean watershed in place, the property value of your own home increases. For example, a proper rainwater management system (a system that is designed to keep rainwater in a neighborhood by letting it sink slowly into the ground), will raise your property values simply because of the spectacular scenic views that have been created by healthy streams, lakes and rivers.
There is actually a ‘Clean Water Partnership’ study that found Minnesota homes, with constructed wetland views, sold a third higher than others in the same area. The prices were on par with homes actually fronting a high-quality urban lake.
So what is it that you can do to protect your health, your neighbor’s health, the surrounding habitats, the wildlife, and increase your home’s property value all at the same time?
Believe it or not, you do have control. Some of the most helpful tips that work to create a healthy watershed in your community, include taking the time to plant a rain garden. Excess runoff is the cause of flooding, not to mention stream-bank erosion during heavy rainstorms or rain periods; so creating a rain garden with native grasses, trees and shrubs gives runoff from downspouts a chance to soak into the ground naturally.
And when it comes to gardens, make sure not to overdo the fertilizer. If you have to fertilize your lawn, make sure the products you use have no phosphorous. This, combined with nitrogen, will harm the balance of much-needed nutrients in your local waterways. Same with pesticides. Pesticides break down the healthy soil and a heavy rain period can wash them into all the nearby streams.
The septic system MUST also be cleaned and serviced at least every three years. Septic systems will end up infiltrating the watershed with everything from nitrogen to phosphorous to bacteria. You also love your pet. But, pet waste must be picked up on a consistent basis to avoid the presence of E-coli bacteria that can also run into the local waterways.
There are other tips, such as; buffering streams, trying to use commercial car washes instead of using soaps and detergents in your own driveway, and avoiding asphalt paving.
But whatever mode you choose, just remember that you are the steward of your property, so make sure that your responsibility to the local watershed is met.
Source: Baret News wire