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

At School


The Stormwater Coalition of Monroe County has developed stormwater-related curriculums for elementary through high school grade levels to assist teachers in providing instruction on current water quality issues of concern within Monroe County and the Rochester Embayment. View Water Quality Curriculum.

Education Program

The Stormwater Coalition of Monroe County, through educators from the Rochester Museum & Science Center, provides water quality demonstrations as part of its Watershed Public Outreach Program. In these presentations, your students/group will have fun learning about how to help protect our watershed. The participants rotate through three stations:

Enviroscape: In this interactive demonstration, a tabletop model of a watershed is used to show how water runoff from land surfaces affects our watershed by making its way via storm drains and the storm sewer system into nearby tributaries, streams, ponds, and ground water, and impact local major bodies of water, including Lake Ontario.

Macroinvertabrates: Participants discover the quality of two "streams" by determining which macroinvertabrates are thriving or not thriving in local waterbodies.

Schools and groups are also encouraged to become involved in local watershed issues through field activities such as watershed cleanups, storm drain marking, or planting trees and shrubs. These programs can be conducted on campus or in local neighborhoods. For more information on starting a watershed-focused activity at your school or your group, click here.

About Our Watershed

  • A watershed is an area of land that drains into a body of water, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, sea, or ocean. The watershed includes both the streams and rivers that convey the water, as well as the land surfaces from which water runs off. Watersheds are separated from adjacent watersheds by high points, such as hills or slopes. We all reside, work, and play in a watershed, and keeping it protected is everybody's job. We can all be H2O Heroes!. (NYSDEC)
  • Your Watershed

Caring for Our Watershed

  • Activities of all land uses within watersheds impact the water quality of down-gradient water bodies. Point and nonpoint sources of pollution in a watershed contribute nutrients, bacteria, and chemical contaminants to U.S. waterways. Watershed management encompasses all the activities aimed at identifying sources and minimizing contaminants to a water body from its watershed. Watershed management recognizes that the water quality of our streams, lakes, and estuaries results from the interaction of upstream features. Effective planning and long-term change in impaired watersheds requires citizen participation in many stages of the process.

More Resources

Upcoming H20 Hero Events and Workshops

For pictures and information about local H2O Heroes and Projects, visit Larry's Facebook Page!