St. Clair County is known as the “Blue Water Area” which got its name from the St. Clair River – a river of incredible turquoise and sapphire colors. If you live here or have visited here you know this to be true. The St. Clair River is certainly a tourist highlight of our county, but we have six other waterways worth attention too!
Why River Day
Many people think that most water pollution comes from industries that dump chemicals into the water, but that’s not true. Did you know that the greatest threat to clean water today is storm water runoff? The truth is our water can be harmed by things that we do everyday. When it rains water washes over our lawns, sidewalks, parking lots, and streets shedding water at rapid rates. All this runoff is called storm water. This water picks up litter, fertilizers, bacteria from pet waste and failing septic systems, soil from construction sites and farm fields, and oil from cars, just to name a few. This polluted water then enters roadside ditches and storm drains which connect to the closest stream or river. So it’s important to remember that what we do every day affects our rivers and lakes! We hope that by participating in a River Day event you learn how you can take a few simple steps to affect water in a positive way. Events like River Day get us closer to our goal of clean water for everyone.
If you are wondering how you can get more involved in River Day or in activities beyond River Day, here are some suggested ideas...
1) Lead a River Day Event
- Nature Hikes: Hike at the Pine River Nature Center, Michigan Nature Association nature preserves, Algonac State Park or Lakeport State Park and discover the local beauty of your area.
- Bike Rides: Take your bike along the many trail systems including the Bridge to Bay Trail or the Wadhams to Avoca Trail.
- Restoration projects: Lend a hand in a restoration project taking place in the watershed.
- Picnics: Pack some lunches and enjoy the local beauty of our watershed at your local municipal, state and county parks.
- Canoe Trips: Plan an afternoon outing while floating along one of our many rivers.
- Fishing Lessons: Share the knowledge of angling to those less experienced at a local waterway.
- Storm Drain Stenciling: Stencil a message next to a street drain to remind people “Dump no Waste – Drains to River”.
- Riverside Cleanups: Know of an area near a river that could use a little cleanup? Organize a group effort to keep our rivers clean.
- Water Treatment Plant Tours: Tour your local Water Treatment Facility and get an inside look at how the plant work.
2) Become a Stream Leader
The Friends of the St. Clair River Watershed Stream Leaders program helps keep tabs on the health of waterways across St. Clair County. Twice a year, under a Stream Leader's instruction, volunteers meet at an assigned stream or river and collect macroinvertebrates, or "bugs" that live in the water. Depending on the type and number of bugs found, volunteers assign the stream a score like "Excellent", "Good", "Fair" or "Poor". These scores help track the health of a waterway over time and give clues as to which areas need to improvement or protection. If you are interested in having fun and learning more about the health of our rivers, you can join our Stream Leaders team! No experience is necessary and all the tools and equipment are provided. Please contact the Stream Leader Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or (810) 987-5306.
3) Practice Simple Steps
There are several steps you can take to help reduce pollution in the streams, creeks and rivers where you live. How willing are you to do each of the following?
- Change your car washing practices: Use a car wash or wash your car on the grass.
- Promptly pick up and dispose of your pet's waste by flushing it or throwing it in the garbage.
- Have your septic tank pumped every 3-5 years.
- Sweep excess fertilizer and grass clippings from paved surfaces back onto your lawn.
- Dispose of household hazardous waste, such as paint and batteries, at the Smiths Creek Landfill.
- Landscape your yard with plants native to Michigan.
4) Sign up for the Blue Watershed News
Keep up with the latest news and events related to everything water! The Blue Watershed News comes out twice a year and provides residents with the latest information about free family activities on land and water. If you are not yet on our mailing list and would like to receive the newsletter electronically or by mail, please call (810) 987.5306 or email and leave your name, address and email.
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Show your love for the water by contacting the St. Clair County Health Department at (810) 987-5306 or email@example.com.
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