Yard waste management linked to erosion, flooding

FAYETTEVILLE — Flooding and erosion that has accompanied recent rains isn’t necessarily due to the volume of water, but poor yard-waste management, said John Pennington, Washington County extension agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

“I have recently heard several stories from property owners about how their home was flooded or their property eroded away due to culverts and streams blocked with yard prunings, woody debris, grass clippings, and even trash,” he said.

“These individuals said that they have never had flooding issues or property loss with the type of rainfall that was experienced earlier this week, and were stumped as to why they were experiencing these issues now,” he said.

When asked if their drainage ditches and culverts might have been blocked with trash, yard debris and fallen limbs from the heavy winds, they said, “I think so.”

Pennington said many of these individuals either cleared the debris in between storms, which prevented further flooding and streambank erosion, or called their local city or county governments and asked for help.

“In a few cases, those who have dealt with these issues in the past were on the ball, and had such debris removed from the ditches, culverts, and storm drains well in advance of the recent heavy rains,” he said.

As part of a recent Arkansas Natural Resources Commission 319 Grant, the Washington County Cooperative Extension Service produced a series of water quality podcasts, one of which covers aspects of water quality, flooding, and erosion due to certain yard-waste management practices.

To find out more about how yard waste management can impact water quality and flooding watch the short video podcast yard waste management to protect water quality www.uaex.edu/washington/podcast/2012/yard_waste_management.html (Washington County water quality podcast) OR ARextension YouTube Podcast http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imyKkmTSaYw&list=PL1A323653FE4C34F5

For more information about water quality or stormwater, visit www.uaex.edu or contact your county extension agent.

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.