Ten simple things you can do to help protect and improve the quality of water and marine life in Puget Sound.

Ten simple things you can do to help protect and improve the quality of water and marine life in Puget Sound. Choose at least one and start making a difference today!

  1. Use your car less and never pour anything down a storm drain

    Vehicles are the biggest cause of air pollution in Puget Sound, and oil, grease and metals from cars and trucks also pollute the Sound. Drive less . Get vehicle emissions checked and repaired. Buy a low emission vehicle. Fix oil leaks in your car. Also, recycle used motor oil. And never pour anything down a storm drain. Wash your car on grass or gravel – not your driveway. Use non- toxic, low-phosphate soap sparingly. Best of all, take your car to a commercial car wash that recycles water. Also, don’t put pharmaceuticals down your sink drain or toilet.

    WA State Department of Transportation
    The Department of Ecology – Recycle Assistance Page

  2. Keep vegetation and shorelines natural

    Preserve the established trees around your home, in your neighborhood and nearby shoreline. Plant new trees and shrubs to encourage excess rainwater to filter slowly into the soil. Add native plants to your landscape. Build homes and other structures away from shorelines. In locations where homes and businesses are already in place, instead of adding cement, wood or metal bulkheads, use drift logs, gravel or native vegetation to prevent erosion and protect the environment.

    Washington Department of Ecology
    Thurston County – Streamside Livin’
    Washington Shore Stewards

  3. Use less water

    At home and at work, help cut down on the millions of gallons of water that is treated at a wastewater treatment plant or runs through smaller, home and neighborhood septic systems every day. Run full loads of clothes and dishes. Install faucet aerators and showerheads. In your garden and on your lawn, apply no more than one inch of water per week, and water in the morning or evening. Sweep your driveway and sidewalks, don’t hose or spray them with water.

    Seattle Public Utility

  4. Cut down on fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides

    If you use fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, follow directions and use them sparingly. Don’t fertilize before a rainstorm. Consider using organic fertilizers. Compost grass clippings, weeds and other yard waste.

    Washington Toxics Coalition

  5. Pick up after your pets and keep animals out of streams

    Scoop your dog’s poop and properly dispose of it. Also, make sure fences and other structures are keeping cows, horses and other animals out of streams.

    101 Reasons to Pick Up Pet Waste
    Pet Waste Disposal – the good, the bad, and the yucky
    Healthy Horses, Clean Water – A Guide to Environmentally Friendly Horsekeeping

  6. Keep your septic system in top working order

    Have your system inspected regularly and get your tank pumped when needed. Strive for a technology that reduces nitrogen.

    Washington Sea Grant – Septic Sense
    Contact your local Health Department or District

  7. Keep your boat and our water clean

    Rinse and scrub your boat hull and decks with a brush instead of using soap. If your boat is stained, use phosphate-free soap or laundry detergent to clean it. Take your boat out of the water when scrubbing off barnacles and doing other thorough cleaning, scraping and painting. Always use boat sewage pumpouts to empty your vessel’s holding tank. Take precautions to avoid spills when filling boat tanks with gas and oil. Don’t throw cans, bottles or other disposable items overboard.

    Washington State Parks – Boating Program

  8. Watch for and keep nuisance plants and animals out of Puget Sound

    When fishing, put unwanted live bait and organic packing materials into the trash – not the water. When boating, remove plants and animals from your boat, trailer and other equipment after taking your boat or watercraft out of the water. When house cleaning, trade unwanted aquarium fish or plants with friends, return them to the store where you bought them or freeze them and then dispose of them in the trash. Don’t dump them into waterways.

    WA DFW – Aquatic Nuisance Species

  9. Become an active citizen and be a voice for the Sound

    Do something to learn about the Sound at least once every year. Visit an aquarium or marine science center, go to the beach on a low tide, visit the orca museum, take an interpretive walk, and open your eyes and ears to the wonders of Puget Sound. Get involved with local and state processes to help Puget Sound. Participate in efforts to make habitat healthier for salmon. Get involved

  10. Make smart growth choices

    Choose to live in a neighborhood that provides you with all conveniences – low maintenance homes and lawns, nearby shopping, walking paths, easy-access to buses and trains and open spaces to enjoy. When building a house, use new, eco-friendly technologies: put in a green roof, rain gardens, permeable pavements and re-use rainwater.

    Low Impact Development …
    Rain Garden Handbook

Used with permission of Puget Sound Partnership
Copyright © 2000 Puget Sound Action Team