Protecting Water – Not Just for Farmers
For many folks, the topic of water quality sounds less than glamorous. But paying attention to our management practices, whether on a farm or in our own back yards, is critical to protect water. The things we do in our pastures, crops, gardens, and lawns can negatively affect our water supply. What can you do to protect water?
- Use buffer zones and no-mow zones to protect water sources. These zones are areas where fertilizers and pesticides are not applied. No-mow zones encourage natural return of native plants with increased ability to hold the soil in place and prevent erosion.
- Plant native plants along water edges to help hold soil in place. Native plants are extremely long-rooted compared to lawn grasses and most cultivated flowers.
- Don’t overstock or overgraze pastures. When overgrazing occurs, soils easily erode, carrying manure with it. And lost topsoil cannot be recovered.
- Repair failing septic systems. Sometimes cost-share funds to repair these are available from local watershed groups.
- Don’t apply fertilizer unless soil test shows a need for it.
- Don’t apply pesticides (weed killers, insect killers, etc.) unless a pest problem has been identified.
A great resource for farmers is UK’s Ag Water Quality Planning website. This site includes an online tool to create an Ag Water Quality Plan, and it features videos of two Oldham County farms: TNT Farms and Sherwood Acres.
Homeowners can benefit from reading ‘Living Along a Kentucky Stream.’ Printed guides are available in our office.
Written by Traci Missun, Oldham County Ag Agent.