Mountain Water Company is pleased to support the Trout Friendly Lawn Program, a partnership between city and county agencies, conservation organizations, and local fishermen to encourage local landowners to avoid chemical pesticides and lawn fertilizers, while advocating for responsible watering in the summer.
Like us, brown trout, rainbow trout, native cutthroat and bull trout all depend on clean, safe water from our aquifer and local rivers for survival. The Trout Friendly Lawn Program helps educate residents on ways to protect our local watershed.
The following are some “trout-friendly” lawn care techniques:
Chemical fertilizers are expensive and provide a short burst of nitrogen and phosphorus that isn’t readily absorbed by lawns, so much of it leaches into surface and groundwater. Organic fertilizers, like compost and lawn clippings, promote plant growth and encourage soil organisms that help avoid thatch buildup. Try also aerating your lawn every 2 to 4 years to reduce soil compaction and allow air and water to penetrate.
Pesticides should be a last resort, since they can be toxic to fish and wildlife. Try pulling and digging weeds instead. You can help your lawn outcompete weeds by maintaining good soil and drainage and watering properly. You might also consider spot treatment of vinegar, or another less harmful alternative, to setback lawn weeds. If you must use a chemical pesticide, spot spray the weeds and do not treat the entire lawn.
Over-watering lawns on a daily basis not only causes runoff into streams and rivers, it encourages shallow root growth of grass, making it susceptible to disease and drought. Excessive watering also depletes our limited water supply. Instead, try watering deeply on a less frequent basis. Or plant fescue cultivar, which uses approximately 50% less water than bluegrass varieties. Some landowners are converting parts of their lawn into native plant gardens, which are adapted to local conditions and require much less water to maintain.
If you live along a stream or river, please consider leaving the shrubs and other plants along the streambank. This riparian vegetation helps prevent erosion and shades the water to keep stream temperatures low. The plants also serve as a filter, processing sediment and nutrients in the runoff from your lawn. Healthy, streambank vegetation is absolutely critical to the survival of trout and other aquatic species.