Our Landscaping is Part of our Ecosystem

 

The Clean & Flowing Rivers program fosters water resiliency in Eagle County communities through education and cost-effective programs focusing on water efficiency and stormwater quality.

By helping to improve our communities water efficiency and storm water quality, we can ensure our rivers stay clean and flowing for years to come.

Why Save Water?

40 Million People

The Colorado River and its tributaries, including the Eagle River, provide drinking water for 40 million people.

$1.4 Trillion

Between river recreation, angling, drinking water, crop irrigation and tourism Colorado’s waterways support its $1.4 trillion economy.

25% by 2050

Colorado River flows are 20% lower than they were a century ago and are predicted to drop another 25% by 2050.

What You Can Do

Stop Outdoor Water Waste

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Water Early or Late

Water Early or Late

Watering when the sun is at its lowest (at dusk or dawn) will minimize water lost to evaporation.

Water when needed

Water when needed

Learn the water requirements of your landscape and water your plants accordingly. By looking for signs of wilt, your lawn will tell you when water is needed. If footprints remain on your lawn for a half hour or more, irrigation is needed. It’s important that your soil dries between irrigation applications, water-logged soils inhibit proper root growth and creates thirsty lawns.

Check for Leaks

Check for Leaks

Periodically walk through and make sure your irrigation system has no breaks or leaks and that nozzles are not plugged. An irrigation system at 60 PSI with a leak the thickness of a dime can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.

 

Watch Where You Water

Watch Where You Water

Check sprinkler head positioning to make sure they’re not wasting water on paved or unwanted surfaces.

Sweep Don't Spray

Sweep Don't Spray

Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, driveways and sidewalks and you could save 8-18 gallons a minute.

Install A Smart Controller

Install A Smart Controller

Smart controllers will automatically adjust the watering schedule based on weather and soil moisture. A smart irrigation system can save you 24+ gallons per day.

*Look for potential rebates in your area.

 

Car Wash Wisely

Car Wash Wisely

Patronize car washes that use recycled water. If at home, using a bucket of soapy water will use far less water than a hose.

 

Install Rain Barrels

Install Rain Barrels

Collecting roof runoff in rain barrels reduces the amount of water and pollutants, leaving your property and entering storm drains. It’s a great way to conserve water and it’s free water to use on your landscape.

*Be sure to check your local rain barrel rules and regulations before installing a rain barrel at your home.

 

Install Drip Irrigation

Install Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation systems discharge water right where it is needed and at a slower rate so it is easily absorbed by the soil. Minimizes water loss and inefficiencies due to wind and evaporation. Drip irrigation is 90 to 95% efficient while a sprinkler is only about 65% efficient. 

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    Water Wise Landscaping

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    Plant Native Drought resistant gardens

    Plant Native Drought resistant gardens

    Native plants adapted to the climate will require less water and less maintenance. Xeriscaping does not need to be rocks and cacti. Native alpine plants are colorful and will create habitat for pollinators and birds.

    Need help selecting native and drought-resistant plants for your garden?

    Try this plant selection tool.

    Town of Vail’s Sustainable Landscape Series: Native Plant Selection video series

    Improve Your Soil

    Improve Your Soil

    Healthy soil will better absorb water and encourage deeper root growth. Colorado soils are naturally low in organic matter, by adding the appropriate soil amendment you’ll save water and foster a brilliant landscape. Take a look at ‘Soil Amendment Basics‘ by Resource Central.

    The Ground Up offers soil health analysis followed by soil amendment recommendations suitable for your landscape.

     

    Limiting Turf Areas

    Limiting Turf Areas

    Kentucky bluegrass requires 58 inches of annual rainfall. Meanwhile, Eagle County averages 15 inches of rainfall a year. Consider removing turf in unnecessary areas or replacing your bluegrass with drought resistant grasses such as buffalo grass or other native plants.

    Mulch

    Mulch

    Mulching beds can help retain moisture and prevent weeds. Organic mulches, such as wood chips, will also contribute organic matter to the soils over time. We advise not using organic mulches in beds against your home as they can be a highly ignitable material.

    Set your mower higher

    Set your mower higher

    Set your mower blade height to between a 2.5″ to 3″ leaf length, anything shorter than this will accelerate burn out and require more water. Longer grass provides extra shade, keeping the roots cooler and promoting deeper root growth.

    Click here for more mowing tips!

    Create pollinator and bird habitat

    Create pollinator and bird habitat

    Restore habitat by planting native vegetation pollinators and birds love. Continued and existing development is reducing Colorado’s overall biodiversity. Research has shown that landscaping with native plants helps preserve biodiversity. Who doesn’t want more butterflies and hummingbirds in their backyard?

     

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      Prevent Stormwater Pollution

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      Only Rain Down the Drain

      Only Rain Down the Drain

      Rain and melting snow pick up pollutants such as sediment, pesticides, fertilizers, and any trash or oils left on driveways, streets, and sidewalks. These pollutants will then flow through storm drains entering our streams and rivers impacting their overall health and water quality. Managing your properties and landscapes with storm water quality in mind can significantly improve the health of our rivers, lakes, and streams.

      Recycle Used Automative Fluids

      Recycle Used Automative Fluids

      Recycle used automotive fluids at your local citizen drop off site to reduce the risk of washing into stormwater drains.

      Accepted fluids include: motor oil, hydraulic oil, gear oil, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid.

       

      Use a Commercial Car Wash

      Use a Commercial Car Wash

      Using commercial car washes, especially those that recycle water, instead of your driveway minimizes the amount of soapy water into storm drains and eventually into your local waterway.

      Check out Whitewater Express Carwash in Gypsum. They recycle up to 85% of their water.

      Leak and Spill Clean Up

      Leak and Spill Clean Up

      Clean up spills quickly using absorbent material such as kitty litter or sand. Promptly sweep up and dispose absorbent materials. Do not rinse spills into storm drains.

      Pesticides and Fertilizers

      Pesticides and Fertilizers

      Fertilize only when necessary or not at all. Use pesticides as a last resort and adhere to laws and regulations of use stated clearly on the labels. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Techniques can be just as effective as pesticides without harming your waterways. Avoid application of pesticides when rain is forecasted to prevent chemical runoff.

      Pick Up After Your Pup

      Pick Up After Your Pup

      Pet waste is one of the major contributors to storm water pollution. During rainfall or snow melt dog waste washes into nearby storm drains and enters into our waterways. As pet waste decays in our lakes and streams it uses up oxygen and may release ammonia harming freshwater fresh. It also contains nutrients that encourage weed and algae growth. Pick up after your pup and dispose of the waste either in a trash can or down the toilet.

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        Continue Learning

        Town of Vail’s Sustainable Landscape Series ‘Native Plant Selections’

        Town of Vail’s Sustainable Landscape Series ‘Sustainable Irrigation Systems’

        Eagle River Watershed Council ‘Rain Barrel Workshop’

        Resource Central ‘Turf Removal 101’

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