The Watershed: H2O

Welcome to!

Welcome to!

Welcome to my home in the Watershed. Here I'll show you how to be an H2O Hero just like me! Just do some exploring and I'll share 11 helpful tips with you. Then use the links or tabs below for even more information.

Clean up after your pets

Did you know that 15 to 20 percent of the bacteria in our waterways come from pet waste? Now that really stinks! Cleaning up after your pet is the simplest thing you can do to keep harmful bacteria from being washed into our storm drains, and eventually into our waterways. For more information, read our "At Home" section.

Make a Rain Barrel

A rain barrel collects rainwater that can be used later to water landscaping around your home. This can save most homeowners over 1,000 gallons of water a year! Collecting and using rainwater helps protect the environment and saves money and energy by reducing the demand for treated tap water. Learn how to make a rain barrel for your home in our H2O Quality 101 section below.

Minimize your use of fertilizers and pesticides

Keep fertilizers and pesticides off driveways, sidewalks, and roads where they would run off into storm drains. Don't apply them near waterways. For more information, read our "At Home" section.

Only Rain Down The Drain

Storm drains connect your neighborhood directly to the nearest stream or body of water. They're different from sanitary sewers, which connect to a treatment facility. it's never a good idea to dump anything into a storm drain because it doesn't get treated and will pollute our waterways. To learn more about storm drains, check out our H2O Quality 101 section.

Recycle Your Oil

When changing your car's oil, please make sure to recycle the old oil. Be sure to clean up any spills by absorbing with kitty litter or sand, then dispose of properly. For more information, read our "At Home" section.

Keep the Pavement Clear of Grass Clippings

Mulching grass clippings or leaving them on your lawn provides a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Mowing high helps control weed growth. Sweep up grass clippings from roadways and driveways, and DO NOT dump grass clippings or other plant materials into streets, catch basins, or streams — the nutrients will leach from them and enter nearby waterways, spurring unwanted algae growth. For more information, read our "At Home" section.

Mark Storm Drains

Storm drain marking can help deter storm drain dumping and reduce non-point source pollution by informing residents that anything that goes down a storm drain goes directly into a waterbody without being treated. To be an H2O Hero and volunteer to coordinate a storm drain marking event, read our "Get Involved" section.

Maintain a Buffer Strip Along Waterways

Undisturbed (unmowed) vegetation along streams and drainage pathways will capture nutrients that wash off your lawn before they are discharged to the waterway. For more information, read our "At Home" section.

Dispose of Hazardous Chemicals Properly

If your garage is anything like Larry's, it probably has its share of half-used cans of paint, cleaners and chemicals lying around. Some people dump them down the storm drain - or throw them in the trash - just to get rid of them. Learn the right way to dispose of these materials so they don't end up getting into our groundwater and our nearby lakes and streams. For more information, read our "At Home" section.

Visit the Local Car Wash

Sure, Larry likes to keep his wheels looking hot. But he knows that washing his car at the local car wash - instead of in his driveway - is the best way to keep harmful detergents from getting into our local waterways. For more information, read our "At Home" section.

Create a Rain Garden

A rain garden is a planted depression that is designed to absorb rainwater runoff from roofs and driveways. This reduces stormwater runoff by allowing rain to soak into the ground and replenish groundwater. By reducing runoff, rain gardens help protect water quality and reduce erosion and flooding. To install a rain garden in your yard, visit our "Get Involved" section.

At Home
For Teachers
For Kids
H2O Quality 101
About Us
Rochester Embayment
Your Watershed
Downspout Disconnect
Rain Gardens
Rain Barrels
Porous Pavers
Green Projects

About Us

What is the story behind H2O Hero?

In 2007, the Water Education Collaborative (WEC) set out to develop an awareness campaign that would educate the residents of the Genesee Regional Watershed of Lake Ontario about the enormous impact they can have on the water quality in our area. WEC leaders teamed up with the Stormwater Coalition of Monroe County and Causewave Community Partners, a local nonprofit organization that creates awareness campaigns to address community-wide issues. Causewave Community Partners pulled in a volunteer marketing team from SIGMA Marketing Group, and the rest is history.

Holy Hydrology!

In our world, he's Larry. In your world, H20 Hero can be your neighbor, your best friend — even YOU! Everyone has the power to be an H2O Hero, because everyone has the power to change the way things are done around the home that can directly affect our waterways. Larry is an H2O Hero. Now it's your turn. Find out how by clicking here.

What is the Water Education Collaborative?

The Water Education Collaborative (WEC) is a coalition of the following organizations that work together to increase awareness and improve water quality education in the community.

  • Center for Environmental Initiatives
  • City of Rochester
  • Delta Environmental
  • Finger Lakes Institute
  • Genesee / Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council
  • Monroe County Dept. of Environmental Services
  • Monroe County Dept. of Public Health
  • Monroe County Parks Dept.
  • Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Nazareth College
  • New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation
  • NY Water Environment Association Genesee Valley Chapter
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Rochester Museum and Science Center
  • Seneca Park Zoo
  • Sierra Club - Rochester Regional Group
  • Stormwater Coalition of Monroe County
  • University of Rochester

The purpose of the Collaborative is to educate people about local water quality issues and inspire them to help protect and improve water quality in the lakes and streams of the Genesee Regional Watersheds of Lake Ontario.

Why was WEC formed?

Most of the pollution in the Genesee Regional Watershed of Lake Ontario comes from storm water runoff that washes lawn and farm chemicals, road salt, soil particles and other substances from yards, roofs, and pavement. The need for public education on what people can do to make a difference was identified as a need in the Rochester Embayment Remedial Action Plan. In response, the collaborative was formed in 2001 to support educational programming.

The Mission of the Water Education Collaborative is to be an effective partnership of environmental and community organizations that advances educational programming consistent with the Rochester Embayment Remedial Action Plan and other regional water resource needs identified in the community.

What does WEC do?

The WEC uses the combined resources of its Members and Partners to:

  • Plan, coordinate and facilitate Water Quality Education Programs
  • Share resources and serve as a clearinghouse for water education programming
  • Seek resources to support programs

What is the Stormwater Coalition?

The Stormwater Coalition of Monroe County is an alliance of 29 municipalities and institutions that is totally focused on stormwater issues and which works collaboratively with its community partners to reduce stormwater pollution and protect water quality. Public education is an important part of the Coalition's strategy, because many routine homeowner activities such as lawn care, car maintenance and washing, and the disposal of household wastes, are major sources of stormwater pollution. For more information on the Coalition, click here.

Contact Us!

To become involved in H2O Hero activities or find out more about H2O Hero and the Water Education Collaborative, contact Larry the H2O Hero at his fan page on Facebook.

For information on the Water Education Collaborative, contact:
Rochester Museum and Science Center 657 East Ave. Rochester, NY 14607

To make a donation:*

Checks can be written to: The Water Education Collaborative

Please send your donation to:

The Water Education Collaborative ATTN: RMSC Director of Education, 657 East Avenue, Rochester NY 14607

*WEC is a 501 (c) (3) NFP organization.


Barb Coté

Illustrator and Director
David Cowles

Tom Cunningham

Art Director and Web Design
Richard Whitesell

Jeremy Galante

Voice Talent
Dave Kyle

Background Music Recorded
Bob Potter, Finger Lakes Community College

Voice Recording and Mixing
Steve Bartolotta, MarketHOLD Productions

Video Editing
Chuck Munier, Crystal Pix

Rob and Kellie Reed, Presto Largo 

Guitar and Vocals
Rob Reed

Tom Hanney

Chris Van Campen

Bass and Backing Vocals
Bruce Lish

Backing Vocals
Alison Cowles

Rochester Embayment and Your Watershed Pages:
Panel Design and Graphics
Anne Smoral
Watershed Maps
Wayne Howard
Center for Environmental Initiatives

Special thanks to our funders:

Causewave Community Partners
Finger Lakes / Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance
New York State Sea Grant
Stormwater Coalition of Monroe County
US Environmental Protection Agency

Thank you to our media partners:

Catholic Courier
City Newspaper
Daily Record
Democrat and Chronicle
El Mensajero
Empire State Weeklies
Entercom Marketing Results Group
Genesee Valley Parent
Genesee Valley Pennysaver
Golf Week
In Good Health
Messenger Post Newspapers
Rochester Business Journal
The Daily Messenger
Time Warner Cable
Western NY Physician

In The Media