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Michiana Stormwater Partnership installing signs across Michiana

Trash, including plastic containers and food wrappers can be found along the side of Douglas Rd. in South Bend, not too far off from Juday Creek.  If this trash is not picked up, these items can end up in one of our local waterways.

One group in Michiana, the Michiana Stormwater Partnership, wants to change that and educate the public on how they can help to keep our waterways clean and free of pollutants.  Their new initiative grabs your attention as your driving across the area by placing signs along major roadways where a waterway intersects. 

Adam Bowden, the Project Engineer for St. Joseph County's Department of Public Works, runs the monthly meetings that brings together the nine different groups that make up the partnership.  The partnership formed to collectively better educate the public since they are under regulation from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to meet six minimum control measures and one of them is "Education, Outreach, and Public Participation."  By installing the new signs, he hopes that people on their daily travels will see them, notice the slogan that reads, "A resource worth protecting," and understand they can have an impact.  

Bowden mentioned that the partnership really got off the ground after they saw the devastating effects in Toledo, Ohio, where the water was contaminated and undrinkable from the algae in Lake Erie. The algae fed off of manure and fertilizer runoff in the lake and bloomed out of control.  Eleven million people were told not to drink the water and boiling it might even make the toxin worse.

Thankfully, there are ways to prevent a situation like that from happening here in Michiana.  Bowden mentioned four different ways you can help to protect our local waterways:

1. Do not overfertilize your lawn

2. Pick up after your pet waste

3. Check your car for oil leaks

4. Do not dump anything down the drain

There's even a motto to remind yourself: Only rain goes down the drain.

If you want to learn more ways you can help keep our waterways clean, click here for the Michiana Stormwater Partnership website.  In the meantime, the Michiana Stormwater Partnership plans to have all of the signs in place by the end of this year, so as your driving to and from work, be sure to look out for these signs across the area.  

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