Please Don’t Feed the Algae!

Lawn care, landscaping, and pest control products are major contributors to water pollution. Rain runs off lawns, rooftops, and paved areas, and picks up dirt, leaves, grass clippings, garden chemicals, pet waste, and other pollutants along the way. This polluted water flows into storm drains which lead directly to our creeks. Fertilizers and other nutrients in these pollutants can cause excessive algae growth and toxin production.  Algae can become toxic and robs fish and aquatic insects that live in our creeks and lakes the oxygen they need to survive.

You Can Make a Difference


  • Mow your lawn so no more than one-third of the length of the grass is removed.
  • Leave the cut grass on the lawn or compost them.
  • Sweep grass on all paved areas back onto the lawn.
  • Only spot treat for weeds or not at all.
  • Compost yard waste or participate in municipal collection or drop-off.


  • On average, lawns only need to be water up to two times a week!
  • Try a cycle and soak water schedule. Divide the watering schedule into 2-3 cycles, with 1-hr between each cycle.
  • Water after 10 p.m. and before 6 a.m. to avoid excess evaporation from high temperatures or winds.
  • Do not over water. Excessive runoff wastes both water and fertilizers you may have added to your yard.
  • Water your lawn not the paved areas. Check your sprinklers regularly to avoid overspray.
  • Direct downspouts to your garden or yard making it at least 5 feet from your home but not out onto the street.


  • Fertilize only when necessary or not at all.
  • Do not fertilize if it the forecast calls for rain in the next day or two.


  • Consider installing a rain garden and directing your roof drains to it.
  • Incorporate swales and berms to your landscape so runoff is contained and doesn’t leave your yard.
  • Consider using bricks, flagstone, gravel, and other porous materials instead of impervious surfaces, such as cement sidewalks and driveways.
  • Add trees and shrubs to capture and hold rainwater before it can reach the ground.
  • Try to use turf only for functional purposes like recreation.