Modified from Living on the Land 2001: Stewardship for Small Acreages
Project Leaders: Susan Donaldson, University of Nevada, Cooperative Extension and Sherman Swanson, University of Nevada, Reno


"Water diversions and dams reduce water flow, often increase water temperature and affect vegetation and wildlife.."

Tips For Controlling Pollution 

Keep garbage, pest and animal wastes, and yard wastes out of roadside ditches, storm drains and waterways. Never dump debris of any type into a creek!

Never dispose of household wastes such as paint thinner, motor oil, or pesticides down household drains or stormwater drains. Storm drains often empty directly into the nearest waterbody.

Follow label instructions when using fertilizers and pesticides. Homeowners who overapply waste money, may damage plants or animals they value, can pollute air, water and soil and may encourage pesticide-resistance in pest species.

If you have a septic tank, have it pumped about every three years on average.

Avoid diverting or damming the creek. Water diversions and dams reduce water flow, often increase water temperature and affect vegetation and wildlife.

Pave only where necessary. Pavement increases runoff during storms and peak flows, resulting in flooding and erosion. Vegetated ground encourages water to soak in and recharge soil moisture.

If you have livestock, exclude them from entering drainage ditches, creeks and streams or manage them carefully to avoid overgrazing or trampling problems.

If you have livestock, collect and compost or dispose of the waste from corraled animals to prevent runoff into surface or ground water supplies.

Also control pet access to creeks and riparian vegetation. Dog and cat feces add excessive nutrients and bacterial pollution to water, which decreases water quality, causes unpleasant odors, and can also cause human health problems. Cats and dogs can be aggressive wildlife predators.

Maintain a buffer of natural vegetation between pastures or paddocks and creeks or ponds.

Stabilize erosion-prone areas of your property and control erosion by planting ground covers or native vegetation. The use of native or adapted vegetation reduces the cost of yard maintenance, requiring less water and fewer chemical fertilizers.

Check your rain gutters and other pipes to see where they drain. Make sure they do not carry water directly into the creek.

Compost household organic wastes if you have the space on your property, or begin a community compost program. By producing "garden gold," you’ll save money and reduce the use of fertilizers that can leach into streams, ponds and ground water.

Learn about your local watershed and how it is interconnected with your immediate neighbors, the surrounding valleys, and ultimately the outside world.

Minimize tillage in agriculture and garden areas and leave crop and garden residue in place or till it under to add organic matter and soil tilth.