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Stormwater and Runoff Concerns

Stormwater runoff is generated from rain and snowmelt events that flow over land or impervious surfaces, such as paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops, and does not soak into the ground. The runoff picks up pollutants like trash, chemicals, oils, and dirt/sediment that can harm our rivers, streams, and lakes. If you are experiencing issues and/or concerns regarding stormwater runoff, flooding, or erosion, please contact us or Chautauqua County Soil & Water District at If you are thinking about building a new home or doing construction and moving a large amount of dirt and soil around, please find more information and rules and regulations in our Chautauqua Lake Stormwater Toolkit, which can be viewed here.

Slow it down, spread it out, and soak it in!

5 Easy Tips for Homeowners to Prevent Stormwater Pollution in Their Yards

​1. Collect and Harvest Rainwater

Make sure roof downspouts are not routed to discharge to hard surfaces, driveways, streets, ditches, or storm drains. Instead, direct them into rain barrels, lawn areas, gardens, and/or raingardens that would enjoy and soak in the extra moisture.

2. Install a Raingarden

Creating nature’s version of a rain garden in your yard is an easy and beautiful solution to deal with excess rain and stormwater runoff. This water-smart landscape feature is designed to catch and filter rain and water runoff with the help of native plants. Plus, your rain garden will recharge groundwater and provide a home for our local birds, butterflies, and wildlife!

3. Improve Hard, Compacted Soils

Hard, packed soil in lawns can act like pavement, sending a quick water flow off of your property, straight down storm drains, and into our local streams, rivers and lakes. Improve your soil to make it more nutrient-rich and permeable to stormwater. Core aerate your lawn and top dress it with organic material such as compost, sand, and topsoil or soil mix. This will grow healthier grass and reduce stormwater runoff and erosion.

4. Make Sure Hardscaping is Permeable

If you are considering a new patio or driveway, choose a permeable material which allows rain and stormwater to soak in through the surface. Permeable paving surfaces reduce stormwater runoff and help replenish our drinking supply.

5. Remove Part of Your Lawn or Just Stop Mowing Sections

Grass has very short and shallow roots and offers limited erosion control. During heavy rain, lawns often become saturated, flood, and run off – taking soil, sediment and pollution with it. Lawns also require a lot of watering and mowing. Try just letting your grass grow long or replacing part of your lawn with native plants. Native plants have longer, stronger root systems that can reduce stormwater runoff and help absorb sediment and nutrients before reaching downstream waters.

We can’t underestimate the impact that we can collectively have as homeowners to help lessen and prevent stormwater runoff and flooding in and off our yards and properties!

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Additional Resources:

LEWPA Municipal Training Resources | Environment & Planning ( which includes watershed information and training for municipalities and town and village boards, as well as highway ditch maintenance.

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