Environmental Protection Agency: What You Can Do to Help Protect our Coastal Watersheds and Estuaries

Here’s what you can do to protect our coastal watersheds and estuaries, our priceless resources.

At Home:

  • Conserve water in your daily life.
    • Install water-saving toilets and showerheads.
    • Replace dripping faucets and leaky pipes.
  • Dispose of household and yard chemicals properly; follow disposal directions on their labels.
  • Don’t be wasteful: reduce, re-use and recycle every day.
  • Pick up trash; participate in trash clean-up days.
  • Cut up the rings of plastic six-pack holders so that aquatic life and birds cannot become entangled in them.
  • Respect your sewer system: don’t pour toxic wastes, chemicals or any medications down the toilet.

In Your Garage and Yard:

  • Maintain your cars and other heavy equipment to reduce oil leaks.
  • Minimize use of fertilizers and pesticides on your yard.
  • Water your lawn conservatively and keep grass clippings out of street gutters.
  • Have your septic system inspected to make sure it is operating properly.
  • Avoid pouring fats, grease or solids down the drain.
  • Build a rain garden in your yard or install rain barrels.

On the Water:

  • Don’t dump your trash overboard; dispose of properly and recycle.
  • Maintain your boats to reduce oil leaks.
  • Keep your boat or motorized watercraft out of sensitive areas like seagrass beds.
  • Install and maintain marine sanitation devices on your boat.
  • Use designated pumpout stations.
  • When visiting coral reefs, do not touch living coral.

In Your Community:

  • Volunteer with your local environmental organizations.
  • Pick up trash; participate in trash clean-up days.
  • Help plant trees or seagrass, or remove invasive vegetation.
  • Don’t litter: streets and storm drains empty into rivers and streams that drain into our estuaries.
  • Pick up your pet’s waste.
  • Do not dump petroleum products, including oil, down storm drains; recycle used motor oil.
  • Remember gutters and storm drains deliver water and contaminants to streams, rivers and eventually the ocean.

When Shopping:

  • Use reusable bags rather than paper or plastic ones.
  • Choose non-toxic products for household use.
  • Choose products carefully: avoid excess packaging.

Science Topics
Conservation & Sustainability, Limnology
Middle School, High School
6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade
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10 Ways to Protect Estuaries (PDF)(1 pg, 436 K)

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