Urban Solutions

FRIENDS OF THE BIG SIOUX RIVER BELIEVES IN URBAN RESPONSIBILITY

If you live in the Big Sioux River Watershed District, you are influencing the river. Even if you have never seen the shining waters of the Big Sioux or set foot on its rocky shores, with your hands, your property, or by some extension, you have touched rainwater that has reached the river. Everyone in the Big Sioux Watershed has a stake in the river. Whether you're a homeowner, car owner, pet owner, hunter, fisherman, or businessman, you can take action for the Big Sioux. If eastern South Dakota is your home, this river is yours.

In this section of our website, you will find videos, articles, and links meant to facilitate a journey in which you learn how to care for your river!

HOW YOU CAN HELP

NATIVE GRASSES

Landscape your yard instead of trying to maintain grass. This lessens runoff. Landscape your yard with native plants. These plants are better suited for SD and will require less chemical treatment.

RUNOFF REDUCTION

Redirect downspouts away from foundations and onto permeable surfaces. This will allow for better penetration and filtration, and it will keep basements dry!

MOWING STRATEGIES

Mow your lawn a notch higher and allow grass clippings to stay on the lawn. These clippings act as organic fertilizer.

STORM DRAIN PROTECTION

Only rain down the drain! Don't wash paintbrushes outdoors. Keep chemicals such as these from running down the storm drain. When doing home improvement projects, locate your storm drain and protect it from debris.

LAWN MANAGEMENT

In the fall, aerate lawns and spread compost instead of fertilizer. Keep fertilizers and lawn chemicals off hard surfaces. Minimize the amount of watering and fertilizing you do; do not water or fertilize before predicted rains. Apply water only where it will be absorbed. If you own riverfront property, allow a 50 foot chemical-free buffer strip.

CONTAMINANT FREE RUNOFF

Make sure you're sending clean water to the river! Regularly check your septic system to make sure there are no leaks or overflows. In the winter, use salt sparingly; shovel whenever possible.

LOW IMPACT DEVELOPMENT

Low Impact Development is an environmental and economical response to the limitations of traditional stormwater management. LID pays attention to each site's unique hydrology. Click on the image to learn more!

VEHICLE MAINTENANCE

Your vehicle habits can influence the river. Don't dump oil or chemicals down your storm drain. Maintain your vehicle so oils and fluids don't leak onto paved surfaces, including roads and parking lots. Wash your car on your lawn to prevent soaps from running into storm sewers. Click on the image to learn more!

RESPONSIBLE PET OWNERSHIP

Pick up your pet's waste and dispose of it in the trash. Otherwise, the feces will run off into storm drainage systems and get into the Big Sioux River. Pet waste can have a huge impact on water quality. On the West Coast, cat feces in freshwater runoff killed local sea otter populations. Click on the image to learn more!

BIOSWALES

Bioswales and bioretention cells improve water quality and divert rainwater from poorly drained areas. They are ideal for parking lots, roadsides, and other urban areas that have large expanses of pavement. Click the image to learn more!

PERMEABLE PAVERS

Pervious paving is a low-impact development strategy that allows excess rainwater to soak through the landscaping and become absorbed by underground aquifers. Click the image to learn more!

RAIN GARDENS

A rain garden is a strategically designed depression meant to capture runoff from downspouts, driveways, sump pumps, parking lots, and rooftops. Click the image to learn more!

FRIENDS OF THE BIG SIOUX RIVER URBAN POSITION STATEMENTS

- We are concerned about the public health ramifications of our water. We believe warning the public whenever immersion in the Big Sioux River is unsafe is the proper thing to do.

- We encourage low impact development practices that minimize runoff, reduce infrastructure costs, maintain natural landscape, minimize development costs and generally improve the quality of life. We encourage infiltration based hydrology, not runoff based hydrology.

     - Integrate storm water design into site design.

     - Reduce hard surfaces to increase storm water absorption.

     - Minimize the disruption to natural topsoil.

     - Increase topsoil depths on all residential and commercial lots.

     - Fit the development to the natural landscape and preserve natural areas as common community areas (playgrounds, parks and ball fields).

     - Preserve natural wetlands.

     - Use and enforcement of temporary construction sediment barriers.

     -  Use bio-retention practices wherever possible.

- We encourage practices that reduce storm water runoff and pollution.

     - Rain garden locations should be designed into both residential and commercial lots to capture and slow runoff.

     - Riparian strips should be used where feasible.

     - Parking lot design should incorporate rain gardens (replacing raised berms) to hold and filter runoff.

     - Rain barrel use is encouraged.

- We encourage responsible use of fertilizers and other chemicals on lawns.

- We encourage the public to properly dispose of pet waste.