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Water Actions

water waves on a blue background

Conserving and managing water sources is essential for maintaining healthy wildlife populations. This includes protecting the quality and quantity of water, maintaining natural flow regimes, and preventing pollution that can harm both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Little Habitat Certification Levels

Level I: Seedling

an acorn silhouette on a brown circle background
  • Choose one action item.

Level II: Seedling

green circle with a silhouette of a seedling with acorn attached to a baby oak tree
  • Choose two action items.

Level III: Oak

a silhouette of an oak tree on a blue circle background
  • Choose three action items.

Water Actions

Click on any action to learn more about it.

Install a Wildlife Water Feature

Birds circled around a bird bath on a cold winter day.

Installing a wildlife water feature such as a birdbath or bubbler can help provide a natural water source for birds and insects. When installing a water feature for wildlife, it is important to consider factors such as type of water feature, its size, location, and maintenance requirements. Proper planning and maintenance are essential to ensure that the water feature remains healthy and safe to drink. Replace the water every few days to ensure it is free of animal waste, algae, and mosquito eggs/larvae.

Install a Puddling Area

A shallow dish filled with stones and water to support butterflies.

Installing a puddling area can help provide a source of moisture and essential minerals that bees, butterflies, and moths, as well as snakes and frogs depend on. This can be a shallow depression on the ground or a dish such as a terra cot plate. Keep the dish filled with fresh water and periodically replace the mineral content by adding small amounts of sand and soil. If you add sugar to the water, make sure the dish is placed on a plate of water forming a moat to avoid ants.

Create a Garden Pond

A garden pond with river rock around the edges and aquatic plants.

Garden ponds can support wildlife species such as dragon flies, newts, and frogs. When creating a backyard pond for wildlife, it’s important to consider factors such as size, design, plant selection, safety, maintenance, and accessibility by providing gradual edges or shallow areas to allow safe access for wildlife to enter the pond. Visit your local pond shops and garden centers to receive more advice on how to properly install a pond or work with a pond contractor directly.

Eliminate Lawn Watering

A brown butterfly sitting in dead grass.

Allow the grass to go dormant during the dry months. Although it may turn brown, it will green up again as it rains in the Fall. Conservation benefits include water conservation, water cost savings, and less maintenance. You can also consider alternative landscaping practices such as xeriscaping or incorporating native plants that require less water while still enhancing aesthetic and ecological value.

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Disconnect Downspouts (where appropriate)

A disconnected downspout from a house directed towards a raingarden.

Disconnecting a downspout involves removing or detaching the downspout from the drainage system. This allows rainwater to flow onto the ground rather than being directed into storm drains or other artificial systems. Benefits include increasing water availability for plants and wildlife, decreasing the chance of flooding sewer systems, and help replenish groundwater supply. It is important to make sure that water flows away from the house and neighboring properties after the downspout is disconnected. Proper maintenance and regular inspection of your gutter and downspout system are essential to ensure proper function and protecting the property from water damage.

Install a Rain Garden or Bioswale

A rain garden on the side of a road full of water and plants.

Rain gardens and bioswales are shallow depressions that are planted with native plants that help absorb and filter and reduce stormwater runoff to local waterways. Benefits include providing beneficial wildlife habitat by adding plant diversity and elevation interest to the landscape. Raingardens can be installed in low-lying areas or in areas where rainwater naturally collects. Important factors to consider when installing a rain garden include proper site location, soil texture, planting design, planning for overflow, long-term maintenance, and permitting.

Improve Irrigation Efficiency

A green watering can pouring out water.

Efficient irrigation systems save water, benefiting natural ecosystems and aquatic species. To improve irrigation, use soaker hoses, drip systems, and hand watering. Adjust sprinkler heads to avoid wasteful watering. Audit your system for water needs based on precipitation. Consult your local supply shop for the right system. Water during cooler times, mornings and evenings, to reduce evaporation. Consider a moisture meter to prevent over watering.

For More Info…

headshot of Kassi smiling and wearing a yellow cap and a gray sweatshirt with her hair pulled back.
Kassi Roosth
Urban Conservation Planner
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