World Water Day is recognized annually on March 22 to raise awareness about the importance of conserving and managing freshwater, our most valuable resource. It’s an important day not only for humans, but for all species of animals and plants that rely on freshwater to survive.

Want to help animals (and people, plants, etc.) on World Water Day? Here are a few expert strategies to help you protect your local freshwater ecosystem.

  1. Organize a clean-up for a nearby lake or river. Pick a location in your area that you’re familiar with. Live near a beach? A river? Contact the local agency that manages the land, ask for permission to organize a group clean-up effort, and round up volunteers! Check out Create the Good’s ‘Clean Up a River!’ Project for details about supplies and safety considerations.
  2. Be an active watershed resident. A watershed is an area of land that catches the rain or snow that drains into a body of water such as a marsh, pond, lake, or river. Healthy watersheds provide clean drinking water, absorb greenhouse gas emissions, and provide habitats for plants and wildlife. Protecting your local watershed (which includes your own yard!) means reducing chemical pollution, moderating runoff, and preventing soil erosion. Proper watershed management can include planting trees and other native flora, collecting rainwater for gardens, picking up and properly disposing of pet waste, and avoiding paving large areas with concrete — among other things. More information is available at the EPA’s Healthy Watersheds page.
  3. Take individual action to reduce chemical pollution. Chemical pollutants include fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, motor oil, antifreeze, household cleaning products, and medicines. To lessen their effects on the environment and clean water sources, you can eliminate using certain ones altogether (pesticides, chemical fertilizers), purchase eco-friendly alternatives (cleaning products), or simply be sure to dispose of them properly (medicines, oil, antifreeze).
  4. Reduce your water footprint. If possible, use energy efficient home fixtures and appliances (such as faucets, showerheads, toilets, and washing machines). Participate in Meatless Mondays. Cut down on the amount of water you use to wash your vehicle or maintain your lawn. Visit National Geographic’s Water Conservation Tips for more info.
  5. Educate yourself about local issues. Research where your water comes from. Find out what water issues are most important to your community. Look for opportunities to get involved with local environmental groups and support legislation to protect clean water. Well-informed citizens have the power to create positive change in their communities.

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