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Protecting water quality is important, especially in droughts

Water has always been very important to all of us. After all, it does make up at least 65% of our bodies. I think prior to the droughts of recent years, though, we have all been taking water for granted. Because of the droughts, water is often a lead topic at many of the meetings of our community leaders.

County agents like myself have always encouraged people to practice good environmental stewardship. In the scientific community, we refer to these practices as Best Management Practices, or BMP's. If you are not familiar with BMP's, I suggest you get educated.

Regulations to protect our water quality have always been in place but those violating these regulations have often gone unnoticed. With the stress of recent droughts that is no longer the case.

Don't count on your neighbor or friend not to report you if you're polluting a water source. More and more, we are hearing of problems between neighbors because of runoff from one neighbors property to another has caused a problem. Put the BMP's in place on your property to insure that you don't have this problem.

Everyone lives in a watershed. A watershed is simply an area of land that drains the rainwater into one location such as a stream, lake, or wetland.

This means that the runoff from streets, fields, and lawns will eventually drain into those streams, lakes, or wetlands.

Cup your hands as if you are going to drink water from a faucet. Your thumbs and fore fingers are like the ridges of a watershed and your palms are like the water body that catches the rainwater.

Watersheds can vary in size and shape from a couple of square miles to hundreds of thousands of miles.

We all live, work, and play in watersheds, and what we do affects everything and everyone else in the watershed.

No doubt, protecting water quality is going to be a major focus of all natural resource agencies in the future.

If you are unsure of the BMP's for any practice, don't hesitate to call. I'll provide you with the information or refer you to the best agency to handle your specific request.

Web posted on Thursday, September 23, 2010

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