Boy Scouts working to protect water quality

Part of the Outdoor Code for Boy Scouts is “to be clean in my outdoor manner, be considerate in the outdoors, and be conservation minded.”.  Troop 370 brought this code to fruition on June 8th in Oak Harbor. The troop labeled over 80 storm drains in Oak Harbor with a marker that stated “No Dumping, Drains to Lake”. 

Prior to the event, Becky Simpson, a staff member from the Ottawa Soil & Water Conservation District, provided the educational markers and explained to the Boy Scouts that after a rain event the water has two options: soak into the ground or runoff. As we increase development and impervious surfaces such as roadways and parking lots, we also increase the amount of water running off the land and entering our storm drains. Many storm drains have historically led to the sewer system, however with the increased amount of large rainfall events  this has led to an increase of combined sewer overflow problems.  This has resulted in beaches being closed because of the amount of e-coli found in the water.  Both the Village of Oak Harbor and the City of Port Clinton has been proactive by disconnecting many of their storm drains from the sewer system.

Now that many storm drains lead directly to a water body the residents of this community have a bigger part to play in keeping our water clean.  One way to reduce the pollutants from entering our waterways is to promote good stewardship and education by tools such as storm drain labeling. Along with Troop 370, the Conservation District would like to thank the Village of Oak Harbor who provided the maps of the storm drains. Thank you also to Pizza Hut who donated lunch for all the participants.    

To learn more about what you can do to help, or if you would like us to speak in your classroom or at a public event, contact the Ottawa Soil & Water Conservation District at 419-898-1595.

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