According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, storm water runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks and streets prevent storm water runoff from soaking naturally into the ground.
Storm water can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly into a lake, stream, river, wetland or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer is discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing and providing drinking water.
Portland, Ore., and the Chesapeake Bay region have been in the news lately for innovative approaches to storm water management. Many states, including North Carolina and Washington, have storm water runoff abatement projects.
The National Gardening Association suggests using powdered herbicides made from corn gluten to keep crabgrass and other weed seeds from germinating and growing.
Typically spread on established lawns, they also can be used in gardens where no seeds will be planted, such as in perennial beds. As the corn gluten degrades, it provides a small amount of nitrogen to the soil.
Crabgrass begins to germinate at about the time that azaleas, dogwoods and forsythias bloom, so, for best results, spread corn gluten at that time. Application procedures vary with the particular product; be sure to read and follow the directions on the label. Do not use corn gluten in newly seeded lawns, or in garden beds where you plan to sow seeds.
Discovered by West Virginia State University horticulturalist Nick Christians, corn gluten meal has been classified by EPA as a "minimum risk pesticide" that is exempt from registration requirements. This means that corn gluten meal products can be sold without going through EPA's registration process. EPA also has registered one corn gluten meal product as a biological pesticide.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.