Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Keeping the Creek Clean

Until we moved creekside, I never thought much about the pesticides and herbicides and cleaners that I used. Well, I avoided some things anyway, but only because I'd read something about how harmful they were to the environment and to people. I readily applied herbicides to kill unwanted plants, and I know that I overapplied them. Later I tried to use the systemic ones so that I wouldn't accidentally kill anything else.

Now I wonder about what happens to the systemic killer once it reaches the roots of the plant and kills it. Does it continue to seep into the ground? What happens to it when I wash it into my septic system? Once it kills the plant, does it just change its structure and become benign? Does the systemic killer remain in the dead plant and go to my mulch pile or the garbage dump? If it goes into my mulch pile, what does it do once it's mulched and ready to use again? Is it dead?

And, I'm aware that certain house and window cleaners contain phosphate. I know I don't want it washing into the creek to enhance the growth of algae and bottom growing plants.

So, I'm researching most of the things I have used in the past to see what their effect is on our environment. We have a river keeper here. I'm going to consult him about them and about a few other things. I'm digging up weeds and unwanted plants and sending them off to the county mulch system instead of using herbicides. When hotter, more humid weather gets here, I won't be able to dig outside. I'll either hire someone or resort to the least harmful alternative.

We have fire ants here, seems like lots of them. I've tried to find an enviro-friendly pesticide for fire ants - without success. So I'm resorting to what seems like the least harmful alternative, and I'm using the least amount possible. So far, all I'm doing is moving them around. They are very dangerous to me and my partner; so I need them gone.

Most of us don't think much about the environment until the harmful things we do impact our lifestyles. I'm trying to change my lifestyle to fit with preservation and conservation - at least a bit more. It's hard because, to quote a friend, "All I've ever wanted in life is more."

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