How To Protect Nature While Enjoying Summer
School may be just around the corner but there are still plenty of beautiful days left to enjoy summertime in the Ozarks! While you’re enjoying the warm weather, help us protect our lakes and rivers with these tips.
Don’t waste your time – or water, hand washing your car when you could be enjoying a beautiful Ozarks river or lake. Washing your car at home can use over 100 gallons of water! Plus, the water and any chemicals you used infiltrate the soil (and groundwater) or drains into the storm water system, which can end up in our rivers and lakes. Utilizing a commercial car wash is more efficient with both water and your time, and as a bonus, is more environmentally friendly. Commercial car washes typically only use 20-30 gallons per wash, and the rinse water is collected and treated.
The outdoor motto is always, “Leave an area better than you found it.” If your end-of-summer plans take you on a float trip down one of our Ozark rivers or to one of our many lakes, take a bag for the trash you generate and take a few minutes before you leave to pick up any trash that may have been left behind by someone else. The trash can be detrimental to both wildlife and our watershed. The recently completed James River Basin Partnership River Rescue pulled more than 1,500 pounds of trash, including over 30 tires, out of a five-mile stretch of the James River!
Springfield and surrounding areas are also home to great parks and trails. While you’re enjoying these spots with your pets, pick up after them and properly dispose of their waste in a trash receptacle. In urban areas with a large population of dogs, pet waste is a significant contributor to poor water quality.
Finally, if you’re an avid connoisseur of local fishing, be sure to follow Department of Conservation guidelines regarding the disposal of live bait. Improper disposal can introduce invasive species that can infest our lakes and rivers, causing ecological damage.
Enjoy the beauty that our Ozarks lakes and streams have to offer. Set a great example for others and teach your children how to enjoy the outdoors safely and responsibly so it is even more beautiful for generations to come.