Reducing Water Pollution Caused by Land Clearing

It is essential to take the necessary steps to reduce water pollution caused by land clearing. One of the most important things to do is to never clean up a spill with a hose in a storm drain. Stormwater flows through hard materials, such as concrete or asphalt, and carries all the dirt they have collected along the way. To prevent this from happening, use porous materials like gravel, paving stones, wood, etc.

whenever possible. If a hard surface cannot be avoided, dig a shallow trench along the edge and add plants or gravel to catch runoff before it spreads too far. Trees and their roots are also effective in slowing down the flow of surface water and forming a physical barrier that allows sediments to settle and be trapped. Unfortunately, due to human needs for water and extensive development of the land, freshwater animals are disappearing at an alarming rate. Sediments often carry chemicals, pathogens, nutrients, and other harmful substances that have been applied to or spilled onto the soil.

Urban development causes rainwater to reach bodies of water much faster than if the land were left in its natural state. Riparian buffers are lands and clusters of plants that border rivers, streams, bays, and other waterways. This helps recharge groundwater supplies and slowly release rainwater into bodies of water. Erosion and sedimentation occur naturally, and riverine buffers and other natural lands filter much of the water and reduce erosion of stream banks. The loss of forests, riverine buffers, wetlands and other natural lands increases the amount of pollutants and sediments in the water, alters stream flows, erodes stream banks, eliminates the habitat of aquatic and semi-aquatic animals, decreases the replacement of groundwater supplies, and increases the frequency of floods and periods of low stream flow. To protect water quality and aquatic habitat, it is essential to preserve forests, riverine buffers, wetlands and other natural lands.

When these areas are developed, their permeable surfaces are replaced by impervious surfaces such as roads, roofs and parking lots or less permeable surfaces like grass.

Léo Brotman
Léo Brotman

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