At Shuksan Middle School in Bellingham, all 6th grade science students learned about pollution in stormwater and modeled how pollution moves through a watershed from land to the water through Sustainable Schools Stormwater Education. In the week(s) prior to our visit, , students were introduced to waterquality issues and how humans can impact water quality aboard the Snow Goose. The Sustainable Schools team then completed a follow-up lesson at school focusing on their local watershed: Squalicum Creek. Students then put their learning into action. In an effort to decrease non-point source pollution, AVID students installed a dog bag dispenser station at the entrance to their soccer field to encourage pet-owners to pick up dog poop when utilizing the field and assembled new dog owner kits to educate City of Bellingham residents about the importance of picking up after their dog. The kits were then given to the Whatcom Humane Society to hand out alongside adopted dogs.
- Scoop the poop. Pick up pet waste daily or often to keep bacteria, viruses, and excess nutrients out of the water.
- Wash your car at an Industrial car wash. Soap contains surfactants and chemicals, if washing at home, that soapy water will find its way into the nearby water. Industrial car washes send the used water to a waste water treatment plant that can properly remove chemicals.
- Don’t drip and drive. Ensure your car is not leaking, and if it is take it to a mechanic to stop the leak. Annually, Americans drip over 180 million gallons of oil much of which finds its way into our water!
- Avoid fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides. These run off your lawn, garden, roof and driveway the next time it rains.
- The presence of herbicides and pesticides in the water can result in death of aquatic plants and animals including salmon.
- When excess nutrients (any fertilizer added to the ecosystem causes an “overload”) enters the water, it promotes algae growth, algae have a short life and within the same season will bloom and then die. During the decaying process, dissolved oxygen is consumed resulting in extremely low dissolved oxygen levels creating “dead zones.”