Creeks: Environmental Information

CreeksThe City’s creeks are important for many reasons: recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, drainage and flood control, improved water quality, and other benefits. All of our creeks need protection from harmful pollution and there are several ways that citizens can help and become more involved in caring for local creeks.

Everyday activities also add water: activities such as car washing, lawn watering, and cleaning buildings and streets. Along the way, the fast-moving urban runoff picks up pollutants such as pesticides, fertilizers, eroded soil, and oil and grease from cars. These pollutants make their way into our creeks and rivers where they pollute the water and harm the ecosystem of both plants and animals. Eventually, this affects all of us, since we eat the fish and use the rivers for recreation. Much of our drinking water also comes from the Russian River.

How Can You Help?

There are numerous ways you can keep storm water or runoff to the system clean:

  • Avoid using pesticides in your yard.  No one wants to be overrun by pests, but you can manage your bad bug problem, keep the good ones, and protect your family and the environment with less- or non-toxic methods.  The Our Water Our World website has tips, product lists, bad and good bug identifiers, and even an Ask The Expert resource.
  • Minimize or eliminate use of fertilizer. Fertilizers harm the environment when carried to creeks and rivers by runoff by encouraging excess algae growth, which depletes the oxygen in the water and kills fish.
  • Don’t litter. Trash left in streets or driveways will likely end up in a storm drain and eventually a creek.
  • Dispose of pet waste properly. Pet waste is high in nutrients and bacteria. Pick up pet waste and deposit it into the toilet or trash.
  • Wash your car at a car wash. Detergents are harmful to aquatic life. Most carwash facilities either connect to the sanitary sewer system or treat and recycle the wash water on-site.
  • Keep your car properly maintained and leak-free. Leaking vehicle fluids that drip onto the street or your driveway can wash into the storm drain by rain. Vehicle fluids, such as motor oil and anti-freeze are harmful to aquatic life.
  • Properly store and dispose of household toxics such as paints, oils, grease, fluorescent bulbs, batteries, construction waste and chemicals. For more information about disposal of household toxics, see the Zero Waste Sonoma website.
  • Manage your Green Waste. Either dispose green waste properly into the designated waste receptacle, or compost on site.