Any property with acres of land often contain small creeks that drain to larger creeks. Because of this direct connection to the water, rural property owners can have an immediate impact on the health of streams and watersheds. Here are the top eight ways rural property owners can prevent pollution and erosion:

1. Manage livestock properly.

  • Fence animals out.
  • Establish pastures and rotate animals through fields seasonally.
  • Maintain a vegetated buffer or filter strip.
  • Route runoff via grass swales to vegetated areas away from water.

2. Plant native vegetation along creeks and wetlands to:

  • Hold soil in place and prevent erosion
  • Slow water flow and help soil absorb water.
  • Support wildlife by creating habitat and shade.

3. Maintain bird nest boxes to manage pests:

  • Reduce insects with flycatchers.
  • Control rodents with owls.

4. Install rain barrels and cisterns.

5. Use grass swales to absorb polluted runoff.

  • Plan and install grass swales to carry stormwater from hillsides, roads and roofs to an area where the soil can absorb it without causing erosion along the way.

6. Create buffer strips from livestock areas.

  • Set aside grassy buffer strips so that runoff from livestock areas does not flow directly into the creek.

7. Compost.

  • Compost animal manure and then use it in the garden or on fields.
  • Store compost away from the creek.

8. Water livestock away from creeks.

  • Develop livestock watering facilities away from creeks.
  • Consider using a solar pump to supply water to a trough, instead of allowing livestock direct access to the creek channel for water.