A new website should tell most of the story about why it’s important to think about stormwater runoff.
That is, at least, the hope of the La Crosse Urban Stormwater Group, made up of local governments, fulfilling a state mandate to educate about water runoff.
West Salem Village administrator Theresa Schnitzler says a just-launched website (here) by the group helps people understand where the water goes, eventually.
“You’re thinking that the water that’s coming off your roof, your driveway, and into the street, ‘Good, it’s gone,'” she said. “But they aren’t thinking where it goes after it gets out and what the sediment in Lake Neshonoc will do to this wonderful resource we have here.”
It’s also important to consider why every drop of rain counts when it comes to runoff into local waters, even in a little village like West Salem.
“You put 2,000 homes doing all the same thing,” Schnitzler said. “That’s a big deal. I don’t think people realize what they’re contributing. They think it’s no big deal.”
The group helps answer the question, says Schnitzler, of why you get charged a stormwater utility fee on your water bill.
“We’re able to show them what we’re doing with it,” she said. “We’re cleaning your streets, we’re getting the debris out of the waters that are flowing into Lake Neshonoc, La Crosse River, etc.”
The website offers advice on minimizing damaging runoff like building a rain garden and washing your car in the grass.
Schnitzler says the collaborative approach towards the website and education in general means the message about keeping waters clean is much more effective.