Stormwater Management

Top 5 Ways to Protect Dane County Lakes and Streams
(Reprinted and modified from Dane County Webpage)

  1. Learn more about local waters and join a local watershed or conservation group. Go to our Dane County Waters page ( and use the interactive watershed map find out what watershed you live in. Then go to Watershed Associations, Friends Groups and Other Natural Resource Groups to locate an active group in your area. There are many groups in Dane County all working to preserve and enhance the natural resources here. Check out their web sites or get in touch with their contact person to find out how you can get involved. If you don’t find one where you live, consider starting over!
  2. Use care when applying fertilizers and pesticides to your lawn.  Apply fertilizer only if a soil test shows it’s needed.  Learn more at
  3. Keep leaves and grass clippings out of the street and ditches, compost, and practice other water-friendly lawn care. Instead of raking your leaves to the ditch, start a compost pile. Leaves make great fertilizer for vegetable and flower gardens. They can also be tilled right into your garden. Or you could use a mulching mower to chop the leaves into little bits for your turf. If you do rake, make sure that the leaves stay out of the roadside ditch. Learn where the nearest storm drain is in relation to your house. Then learn which lake or stream receives the stormwater that drain sends. Learn more at
  4. Keep water on site and soil in place (so it’s out of our waters). Try building rain gardens, installing rain barrels and directing roof gutters and downspouts to grassy areas (pervious areas) rather than hard surfaces (such as driveways and sidewalks that will deliver stormwater to storm drains and eventually our water resources). Be sure to mulch or plant any bare soil so that rain and snow don’t erode it away. Learn more at
  5. Reduce motorized vehicle use; maintain vehicles in an environmentally friendly way (don’t pump oil in storm drains or on the street, for example). Get your oil changed at a service station. If you change your car’s oil yourself, take the used oil to a collection site for recycling. Never let any oil make its way to the storm drain. Make sure your car doesn’t leak antifreeze, brake fluid, or windshield wiper fluid. These leaks and drips could be washed into the storm drain from the street or your driveway with the next rainstorm. Make sure you sweep your driveway instead of using the hose to wash debris away. Wash your car on your lawn instead of your driveway, or go to a carwash.