Even though an extensive set of laws and ordinances protects the natural resources of the Barton Creek watershed, it isn’t enough. Pollution is everyone’s problem. Ultimately, preserving Barton Creek requires that society as a whole change its habits and viewpoints. We can all look at the way we live and find ways to make small changes that will avoid or eliminate pollution.
The following recommendations are adapted from a set of practical tips developed by the Texas Water Commission.
- Follow label directions for proper use and disposal.
- Look for alternative, non-polluting products.
- Use water-based paints, rather than oil-based.
- Don’t clean paint brushes or rollers in the yard or street.
- Instead of throwing them away, share extra products with friends and neighbors.
- Use insect and rodent traps instead of poisons.
- Use Xeriscape landscaping principles to reduce water use.
- Don’t use more fertilizer than your yard really needs.
- Use slow—release fertilizers.
- Replace herbicides and pesticides with organic substitutes; the county extension agent or knowledgeable garden center employees can help.
- Water your lawn no more than once a week; with a good weekly soaking, your lawn can survive the hot summer.
- Use native grasses, which require less water and fertilizer.
- Leave grass clippings on the lawn, or compost them for later use on the lawn or garden.
- Take used oil to a recycling facility.
- Repair oil leaks; a single pint of oil can create an oil slick the size of a football field.
- Drive less and tune your car regularly to reduce air pollution, which also finds its way into the water supply.
- Do not allow brake fluid, antifreeze, gasoline or other products to drain or drip onto driveway or street.
There are many other ways you can help prevent further destruction to the environment. What’s important is that you start today. We’re often reluctant to change the way we live and work, because we’re too comfortable with our familiar patterns. But we’re learning that everything we do has a positive or negative effect on the world around us, and in turn, on ourselves.
Protecting the clear waters and the diverse plants and animals of the Barton Creek watershed deserves our best efforts. We must be guided by a common vision of how each of us can work to save this remarkable place. In addition to our individual efforts, there must be a carefully developed and consistently implemented conservation plan. Only the combination of our individual efforts, guided by a visionary conservation plan, can preserve the Barton Creek watershed for future generations.