Stormwater, Polluted Runoff and Our Rivers

Rivers are dependent on their watershed for a consistent supply of clean water. Altering a watershed does many things; one of the most significant is to alter the way stormwater soaks into the ground or flows to the local river. When managed properly, this water is a valuable resource. However, when stormwater is managed like a waste product, it exacerbates or creates flooding and becomes contaminated with pollutants.

American Rivers’ goal is to create a more informed and motivated public that will adopt natural methods of stormwater management.

Natural stormwater management refers to management approaches that accomplish one of three things:

  • Use soil and vegetation in a constructed technique, such as rain gardens or green roofs, to mimic natural hydrologic processes like percolation through soil and plant uptake and transpiration.
  • Preserve natural features, such as floodplains with a natural vegetation buffer along streams that can slow, filter, and store storm runoff.
  • Effectively minimize or disconnect impervious surfaces, using methods such as rain barrels, narrower streets and permeable paving. Though these approaches are not as “natural” as other techniques, they still protect the natural water cycle by slowing or infiltrating precipitation rather than sending it directly into storm sewers or receiving waters.

These approaches, when used properly, help maintain a more natural watershed, which in turn keeps stormwater clean, and our rivers and communities healthy.

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