The health of the Wicomico River and the Wicomico watershed can be impacted by many things. As residents within the Wicomico watershed there are many things that you can do to help improve the quality of the river. Getting out on the Wicomico River and enjoying a day of fun and sun is the easiest way of getting involved. Getting involved in organizations that work with the river found under Partnersor simply volunteering for one of the organizations clean ups is a great way to get out and help with the river. There are a number of things you can do on your own property listed below that can help improve biodiversity, reduce storm water runoff, or reduce pollution that reaches the river.
Here are some fun and easy
things to get your property to help the health of the Wicomico
If you live along a waterway provide a natural vegetated buffer along
Direct gutters away from pavement and towards grass or vegetated
Remove invasive plants from property, click here for common native & invasive
plants in Maryland
Minimize or stop use of pesticides on property
Pick up and dispose of pet feces
Have bird or bat boxes on your property
A community member nails a bee box to a tree to help improve the number of bees in the area
A community member assembles a duck box at the edge of a pond to provide the local ducks habitat
Two community members helping to plant native trees along a pond. Although the tree is small now, it will grow fast
Two community members nail a bat box to a tree to provide habitat for bats. Bats help with mosquito control around waterways
A local Master Gardener helps a community member plant a native tree along the pond's edge
These pictures were all taken at Foxchase Community in Salisbury, Maryland. Salisbury University worked with the Foxchase Community to help create more habitat around their main pond. In doing so a duck box, a bee box, a bat box, 5 native flower groupings, and over 10 native trees were planted in the area to enhance the look and productiveness of the pond. This took less than 4 hours with the help of about 15 people. These are fun and easy things that can be implemented on any property and in any community!
The number one source of pollution within the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries is the use of fertilizers and pesticides for lawn care and agriculture. These chemicals easily wash off into surrounding streams and bodies of water which then carry the chemicals into the Bay and can hurt and even kill marine life. Instead of using pesticides on your lawn plant native species of plants that are accustomed to Maryland weather and don't need extra care. This can help improve the biodiversity. See Native and Invasive Speciesfor more information on what is native to Maryland. Click here to learn about the BayScape Program which uses native plants to help with the health of streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay. Click herefor advice on native gardening from author of Bring Nature Home, Doug Tallamy.
Planting trees that are native to the area on your property has many benefits for the Wicomico River and its watershed. Trees act as natural filters and soak up rain water which will prevent runoff from your yard and will filter the contaminants. With less runoff and more filtering, trees are preventing chemicals from entering waterways. Native trees also provide habitat for many birds and animals within the watershed. This will help improve biodiversity and will help reduce storm water runoff from your property. To learn more about the benefits of plating trees click on the picture above.
Placing one or several rain barrels on your property can help with storm water management and can save water by using rain water for watering plants or washing your car. A rain barrel can be installed under the rain spout to collect rainwater which can then be used for different outdoor activities. This will help reduce storm water runoff from your property. Click on the picture above for more information on how to install rain barrels and their benefits from the EPA.
Impermeable surfaces create a lot of storm water runoff on individual properties. The reduction of impermeable surfaces or the use of permeable surfaces can allow for storm water to soak into the ground instead of hitting hard surfaces and running right off, carrying along with it contaminants, into waterways. To learn more about permeable surfaces and their benefits click on the picture above.
The use ofrain gardens in low lying places on properties can help collect and filter storm water and can also provide habitat and food for wildlife including butterflies and bees. Rain gardens can include native plants and can reduce storm water runoff and improve biodiversity. Click the picture above to learn more.
Recycling and trash managementcan also go a long way with reducing pollution in the Wicomico River and the watershed. Within the City of Salisbury recycling bins are free and can be delivered right to your door step, all you have to do is call 410-548-3177. Much of the visible pollution in the Wicomico River is from people littering so placing trash in designated trashcans instead of littering will improve the look and health of the river. Click the picture above to learn about more benefits of recycling from the EPA.
Amaintained septic system can help treat household wastewater and protect against ground water contamination. Using water efficiently can help keep a septic system running smoothly with little problems. Being careful of what goes down the drain can also prevent items being flushed down the toilet that could potentially clog the septic system. Inspection of the septic system every three years and pumping the tank as necessary will allow the septic system to continue working and will avoid the need to replace the system due to lack of maintenance. If you do need to replace your septic system there are new high efficiency systems available. This will help keep pollution from reaching the waterways nearby. For more information click on the picture above for how septic systems work and how to maintain them.