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Help Prevent Stormwater Flooding by Keeping Creeks Clean

Post Date:05/11/2018 11:04 AM

Leaves and woody debris naturally accumulate in streams and creeks. However, when residents collect and deposit their yard waste along creek banks, the added material covers the ground and prevents the growth of natural vegetation that stabilizes the creek bank. This practice leads to increased erosion and sedimentation that clouds the creek water and destroys habitat for aquatic life. It also leads to blockages that inhibit proper drainage, thus causing severe stormwater flooding.

Yard waste decaying in creeks and rivers decomposes in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic life can’t survive in water with low oxygen. As yard waste decomposes, plant nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are released. These nutrients promote the excessive growth of algae in the water. As the water becomes polluted, it can no longer support aquatic life and becomes a health hazard.

The City provides weekly yard waste collection throughout the year. Leaves and grass clippings can be bagged in 30 gallon brown bags or similar sized plastic trash cans for pick up. Branches and twigs can be bundled per Republic Services’ guidelines for collection.

Other ways residents can help prevent erosion, water pollution and stormwater flooding include:

  • Never allow yard waste to be washed down or put into storm drains.
  • Do not sweep or blow grass clippings along the street or into a storm drain.
  • Do not dump grass or yard waste onto a creek bank or area where it will be washed into creeks and rivers.
  • Compost leaves, brush, grass clippings and other yard waste.
  • Mow grass higher and leave grass clippings on the lawn.
  • Never mow creek banks. Mowing damages the roots that hold soil in place, causing stream banks to erode. Plants located in stream beds are native plants and do not require maintenance.
  • Do not spray herbicides to kill the plants along the creek bank.

If you have any questions regarding floodplain requirements, flood insurance or stormwater issues, please contact Joseph Moore, the City’s Deputy Building Commissioner and Floodplain Manager, at jmoore@marylandheights.com or (314) 738-2243.

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