News From Our Blog

Image description: Did you know approximately 117 million people - over one-third of the U.S. population - get some or all of their drinking water from public systems that rely in part on headwater, seasonal or rain-dependent streams?
Learn more about why streams matter.
Photo from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Image description: Did you know approximately 117 million people - over one-third of the U.S. population - get some or all of their drinking water from public systems that rely in part on headwater, seasonal or rain-dependent streams?

Learn more about why streams matter.

Photo from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Today is America Recycles Day. Take the pledge to recycle more.

Image description: Environmental managers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District survey plantings along the lower American River in Sacramento, California.
After repairing riverbank erosion in 2012, the Corps planted native grasses and shrubs to return the site to its natural condition. The work is part of the Corps’ Sacramento River Bank Protection project, and is designed to reestablish riverbank habitat function for endangered fish like salmon and steelhead trout.
Photo by Todd Plain, U.S. Army.

Image description: Environmental managers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District survey plantings along the lower American River in Sacramento, California.

After repairing riverbank erosion in 2012, the Corps planted native grasses and shrubs to return the site to its natural condition. The work is part of the Corps’ Sacramento River Bank Protection project, and is designed to reestablish riverbank habitat function for endangered fish like salmon and steelhead trout.

Photo by Todd Plain, U.S. Army.

Image description: Some parts of Colorado received nearly a year’s worth of rain in just one week in September 2013. This pair of Landsat 8 images from August 16 (left) and September 17, 2013 (right) shows the flooded South Platte River as it flows by Greeley, Colorado, which is on the right side of the images.
Along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains are Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, and Boulder, all affected by the flooding. Flooded rivers flow from the mountains, through each of these cities, and into the South Platte.
At the time of the September 17 image, the river had gone down from well over 8 feet above flood stage to 6 feet above flood stage. Farmland and sections of U.S. Highway 34 were still underwater.
The flooding was detrimental to the entire region, causing several highways to be closed, with repairs expected to cost millions. Eight people died in the flooding. About 1,500 homes were destroyed, and thousands more were damaged. Total property loss is estimated at $2 billion.
Image from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Image description: Some parts of Colorado received nearly a year’s worth of rain in just one week in September 2013. This pair of Landsat 8 images from August 16 (left) and September 17, 2013 (right) shows the flooded South Platte River as it flows by Greeley, Colorado, which is on the right side of the images.

Along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains are Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont, and Boulder, all affected by the flooding. Flooded rivers flow from the mountains, through each of these cities, and into the South Platte.

At the time of the September 17 image, the river had gone down from well over 8 feet above flood stage to 6 feet above flood stage. Farmland and sections of U.S. Highway 34 were still underwater.

The flooding was detrimental to the entire region, causing several highways to be closed, with repairs expected to cost millions. Eight people died in the flooding. About 1,500 homes were destroyed, and thousands more were damaged. Total property loss is estimated at $2 billion.

Image from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Use a Rain Barrel to Save Money and Protect the Environment

Some say when it rains, it pours, but regardless of your thoughts on precipitation, it can’t be denied that rain is not only useful, but necessary for survival.

Even if the rain forces your activities indoors, you can take advantage of it to save money on water costs and protect the environment at the same time.

Rain barrels, which have been popping up under gutter spouts across the country, are an environmentally-friendly, cheap and efficient way of collecting water that would otherwise be wasted as runoff to nearby streams, rivers, or storm drains.

When used, the barrels provide a supply of free “soft water” - water that contains no chlorine, lime, or calcium - ideal for watering gardens, washing cars, or topping off pools, among other uses. They store and collect the water that gathers in your gutters, saving it for when you need to use it.

During peak summer months, times of heat and possible drought, the EPA estimates that rain barrels could save the average homeowner about 1300 gallons of water!

Not only are rain barrels cost effective, they are also extremely environmentally-friendly. They help to filter runoff rain water, which often carries pollutants to bodies of water, save energy by decreasing the demand for treated tap water, and help to protect the environment. Not to mention, they allow people to take advantage of a natural resource in a safe, green way.

Not sure where to find a rain barrel? Check your local hardware or garden supply stores, as many carry a pre-made product available for purchase.

If you don’t find one there, you can build your own, with a 55-gallon drum, a vinyl hose, PVC couplings, and a screen on top of the barrel to keep out debris or insects. For complete supplies and instructions, visit the EPA’s how-to PDF.

Once you have your rain barrel, just place it directly under a rain gutter, and collect away!