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CLEAN WATER TIPS

Happy Keep America Beautiful Month

         

What Started Keep America Beautiful Month?

Did you know that April is Keep America Beautiful Month? Keep America Beautiful Month started in nineteen seventy one, when nonprofit organizations like Keep America Beautiful sought to inspire others. Many organizations were inspired by the Keep America Beautiful organization to take care of the environment. Even inspirational figures such as Lady Bird Johnson sought to complete their mission and educate others about keeping America’s environment clean. Keep America Beautiful Month was soon expanded by nineteen eighty four. Organizations throughout America now recognize and celebrate Keep America Beautiful Month throughout April. You can celebrate Keep America Beautiful Month too. Let’s celebrate and keep America’s water bodies clean!

Celebrate and Keep America’s Water Bodies Clean

You can celebrate Keep America Beautiful Month by keeping litter and pollutants out of water bodies. According to the Tennessee Department and Conservation, water bodies like the Tennessee River are polluted everyday. Pollutants like litter, sediment, and sewage pollute our water bodies due to stormwater runoff. Many sources of stormwater runoff are due to urban development and construction. When it rains, stormwater lands on hard surfaces like rooftops, parking lots, and highways. When stormwater lands on these surfaces, it flows into watersheds and stormdrains. Stormwater is then able to flow downstream into large water bodies. 

Create A Riparian Buffer 

You can protect America’s water bodies by creating a riparian buffer. A riparian buffer is a strip of land with diverse and dense native vegetation. Native trees, shrubs, and grass absorb and filter stormwater runoff before it pollutes a watershed. Creating a riparian buffer can stabilize stream banks and reduce erosion and sediment. Creating a riparian buffer can also be a great way to provide habitat for native wildlife. 

Tips for Creating A Riparian Buffer

A riparian buffer should have zones that require different planning, maintenance, or design. Creating zones will help filter and reduce stormwater runoff before it flows into a watershed. Remember that zone one should be near the watershed. Try to plant large shrubs and trees in zone one. This will help stabilize the watershed and provide shade. In zone two, try to plant small native plants that grow quickly. These native plants are able to absorb and filter more nutrients out of pollutants. Remember that zone three should have native grass and other herbacious plants. Lastly, you should also consider creating zones without fertilizers and pesticides. Remember to keep the grass in that zone tall.

Reduce Reuse and Recycle 

You can protect America’s water bodies by reducing or using your waste. Composting is the process of decomposing organic matter and waste. Try composting organic materials, such as yard trimmings and food waste. Remember to layer your compost properly, and maintain the right amount of moisture and oxygen. You can use compost to improve your soil’s infiltration rate. Healthy soils allow stormwater to infiltrate the surface at a faster rate. Compost also provides your soil with rich nutrients. Healthy soil will be free of compaction and stormwater can enter the pores. Remember to apply compost to your soil only when needed.

Volunteer Near You  

You can keep America’s water bodies clean by volunteering with local organizations. Try searching for local organizations who volunteer to clean up America's water bodies. There are many organizations throughout Tennessee who volunteer to clean up litter. Research from the Tennessee Department and Conservation has concluded that there are a lot of microplastics in water bodes. You can celebrate Make America Beautiful Month and volunteer to clean a water body today.

Educate Others

You can educate others about stormwater runoff and pollutants. Tell your friends or family to reduce stormwater runoff and keep pollutants off of hard surfaces. Remind them that America’s water bodies will be impaired unless we keep pollutants out of watersheds and storm drains. Fish and other wildlife depend on America’s water bodies, and you do too. So let's celebrate and keep America's water bodies clean. 

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Click links below for more information:

https://todayinconservation.com/2023/03/april-is-keep-america-beautiful-month/

 

https://dec.ny.gov/environmental-protection/water/water-quality/nps-program/riparian-buffers#:~:text=What%20is%20a%20Riparian%20Buffer,water%20quality%20and%20stream%20habitat.


https://www.keepknoxvillebeautiful.org/kkb-blog/under-the-surface-of-the-tennessee-river#:~:text=After%20a%20dike%20collapsed%2C%201.1,River%2C%20killing%20hundreds%20of%20fish.

WHAT IS LITTER?

Litter is defined by Tennessee law as perishable animal and vegetable waste, garbage, perishable and nonperishable solid waste and tobacco products.

TENNESSEE LITTER LAWS

Section 39-14-503. (a) Mitigated criminal littering is littering in an amount less than or equal to five pounds (5 lbs.) in weight or seven and one-half (7.5) cubic feet in volume. Criminal littering is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of fifty dollars

($50.00)

Section 39-14-504. (a) Criminal littering is littering in an amount more than five pounds (5 lbs.) in weight or seven and one-half (7.5) cubic feet in volume and less than or equal to ten pounds (10 Ibs.) in weight or fifteen (15) cubic feet in volume. Littering is a Class B misdemeanor, up to a $500 fine. In addition to the penalties established in this section, the court shall require a person convicted under this part to remove litter from the state or local highway system, public playgrounds, public parks or other appropriate public locations for not more than eighty (80) hours. The court, in its discretion, may also be a person convicted under this section to work in a recycling center or other appropriate location for any stated period of &me not to exceed eight (8) hours.

Section 39-14-505. (a) Aggravated criminal littering is littering: In an amount exceeding ten pounds (10 lbs.) in weight or fifteen (15) cubic feet in volume; or In any amount for any commercial purpose Aggravated criminal littering is a Class A misdemeanor, except in the following circumstances, in which case it is a Class E felony, up to a $1,500 fine.

 

TENNESSEE TOLL- FREE LITTER HOTLINE

1-877-8-LITTER PROVIDES MOTORISTS A WAY TO REPORT LITTER BUGS

Tennesseans who are tired of trash along state roadways now have a new tool to report litter bugs. The Tennessee Department of Transportation announced today a new toll-free litter hotline, 1-877-8-LITTER (877-854-8837). The litter hotline is part of the statewide anti litter campaign. The hotline provides a way for Tennesseans to report people they witness littering along the state’s roadways, such as a person throwing a paper cup or cigarette bud out of a window, or an item falling from an unsecured load. “The new toll-free litter hotline gives citizens the ability to Stop It,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “Now anyone who witnesses a person littering can report it and trigger action to improve the quality of the environment and the cleanliness of our roadways. Tennessee has some of the best roads in the nation. With everyone’s help, we can have some of the cleanest, too.”Citizens who witness a litter bug in action can call 1-877-8-LITTER (877-854-8837). Callers will reach a recording that asks them to provide information about the vehicle. The information that will be requested includes: license plate number (Tennessee plates only) type and make of the vehicle day and &me the incident occurred location where the incident occurred the type of item tossed or blown from the vehicle TDOT will mail a leer to the registered owner of the vehicle along with a car trash bag or portable ashtray and other anti litter information. The leer is a gentle reprimand reminding the recipient that littering is against the law and punishable by a one of up to $1500.

Click here for more information.

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