Public Education

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Because public education is a requirement of the Jordan Lake Rules, Guilford County has developed educational materials to teach the residents and business community about stormwater issues. This includes brochures, posters, pamphlets, and other materials available to the public. The Watershed Protection/Stormwater Management Section has continued to distribute educational material and rely upon partnerships with other governmental entities to help with the creation of various materials for residential educational outreach. Methods of distribution include utility mail outs, public service announcements through radio and television, and special events. Along with this, the Stormwater Section has continued to stay in partnership with the Piedmohnt Triad Water Quality Partnership.From this, the Stormwater Section has been in the process of creating a business education and outreach program to capture the attention of commercial business owners along with industrial facilities. To conduct an effective education campaign, the outreach mechanisms and materials must be specific to the target business sectors involved. Some business owners would be best reached through a one- time meeting, others should be targeted with mailers or posted signs, and others still will require individual site visits. Mobile business sectors (construction, landscaping, cleaning services, etc.) in particular may require multiple outreach strategies to reach all of the target businesses. Public outreach will include working with local pet stores and animal hospitals, visiting lawn and garden centers, and expanding ongoing programs to include more under-served communities.

TARGET POLLUTANT SOURCES

  • LITTER/DEBRIS– Litter poses a major problem for County beautification and floatables problem for the drainage system. It is much easier to prevent litter than it is to clean it up.

  • SEDIMENT– Due to rapid growth and development in certain areas of Guilford County, there is a problem with sediment transport. Educating the public will make them notice and report the greater than one acre sites that are in violation of the Sediment and Erosion Control.

  • DISPOSAL OF HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS – Efforts in this area are showing results but need additional attention. County staff has received increased complaints about citizens dumping used motor oil down storm drains.

  • FECAL COLIFORM – Many streams in Guilford County have elevated fecal coliform levels. Citizens will be educated on the importance of cleaning up and disposing of pet waste as well as good housekeeping practices associated with septic tanks.

  • APPLICATION OF LAWN CARE PRODUCTS – Public education efforts in this area need to be addressed over the application of nutrients and the results on receiving streams and water bodies.

  • AUTOMOTIVE MAINTENANCE – Citizens will be educated about the proper practices related to vehicle maintenance.

PROGRAM EDUCATIONAL BOOTH

Stormwater staff designed and produced educational materials and public information displays for various events held throughout the year. Material can be available for all ages at each session. Pamphlets and brochures on water quality issues have also been placed throughout Guilford County facilities.

WATERSHED SIGNS

Signs have been placed along major streams throughout Guilford County identifying the watershed name and in some cases the individual stream name. These signs increase public awareness about the importance of watersheds and encourage good stewardship of the state’s valuable rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes and ground water. Guilford County organizes its water resource planning around watersheds in order to provide a meaningful process for maintaining or restoring the health of our streams, lakes and rivers. Informing citizens about watersheds close to home offers a better understanding of how activities in individual watersheds affect the quality of water in their communities and adjoining watersheds.

CAROLINA YARDS AND NEIGHBORHOOD PROGRAM

The Carolina Yards & Neighborhoods Program (CY&N) is currently being implemented by NC Cooperative Extension as a pilot program in five Piedmont counties. This program emphasizes nine basic principles: Right Plant, Right Place; Water Efficiently; Fertilize Appropriately; Mulch; Attract Wildlife; Control Yard Pests Responsibly; Recycle; Reduce Stormwater Runoff; and Protect the Waterfront. Carolina Yards & Neighborhoods teaches you in a simple way how to design, install and maintain your lawn and landscape. You’ll be able to transform your yard into a beautiful oasis, while saving you time, energy and money. As you incorporate these principles into your landscape, your yard will help conserve water resources and reduce pollution.

BUILD A BUFFER PROGRAM

Degraded stream buffers reduce water quality, wildlife and fish populations and can cause serious property damage through bank erosion. Guilford County has collaborated with the Cooperative Extension Agency to promote the use of buffers along stream banks throughout the county. Restoring a healthy stream buffer is key to restoring natural stream functions and aquatic habitats. Benefits include channel stabilization, improved water quality, wildlife, fish populations and aesthetics. Successful riparian management practices protect and/or establish native vegetation along streams, which helps prevent bank erosion, traps sediment and filters other pollutants. Citizens can request vegetative stakes throughout various buffer building workshops to plant along private property.

PIEDMONT TRIAD WATER QUALITY PARTNERSHIP

In order to meet the objectives of the public education and outreach program, Guilford County continues to rely on the collaboration and building partnerships with other governmental entities while implementing some of its own public education BMP’s. The multi-governmental groups that Guilford County has continued to partner with this past fiscal year, includes the Piedmont Triad Water Quality Partnership (PTWQP).

The PTWQP is a collaboration of 17 local governments in the Piedmont Triad that work together to educate residents about stormwater and water quality issues; including non-point source pollution, regulations, and best management practices. Joint funding is used to broadcast television commercials and purchase education materials such as brochures, watershed signs, and storm drain markers. The website address for the Piedmont Triad Water Quality Partnership is (http://www.piedmontwaterquality.org/)