man washing car

(image and text courtesy of the
Washington State Water Quality Consortium)

When you're washing your car in the driveway, remember: you're not just washing your car in the driveway...

All the soap, scum, and oily grit runs along the curb. Then it runs into the storm drain and directly into our lakes, and streams. And that causes pollution which is unhealthy for fish. So how do you avoid this whole mess? Easy. Wash your car on grass or gravel instead of the street. Or better yet, take it to a car wash where the water gets treated and recycled.

Project guidebook The RSPT has a section on conducting Car Washes in their new guidebook that features service and fundraising projects focused on protecting water quality.

Find more watershed-friendly advice using the links to the left.

You can make a difference

Big improvements can start from home

To protect our creeks and streams we all must recognize that we can be part of the problem and we can be part of the solution. Learn more by exploring Lake Superior Streams and at the Citizen Science Association.

Know Your Watershed

The first step in protecting our creeks and streams is to recognize and appreciate your watershed.

Everyone lives in a watershed

In fact you probably live in several layers of watersheds.

In Duluth, Minnesota 42 documented and named streams cut through the city. Any water from the streets, houses and ditches will ultimately drain either to one of these streams or directly to Lake Superior or the St. Louis River. The flow, speed and direction of the water depend on the lay of the land. Wherever you live, the rain that falls or the water from your hose will run off your impervious (cement, stone, asphalt, roofing or wood) surfaces into streets, streams, ditches and ultimately travel to the stream, creek, river, lake or ocean for which your watershed is named.

Homeowner Factsheets

Influencing Local Land-Use Decisions

Development may be inevitable but it should be done responsibly.

A Citizen's Guide to Influencing Local Land-Use Decisions [1.7 MB pdf, 2007] was developed by two non-profit organizations – 1000 Friends of Minnesota and Minnesota Waters – to help citizens better understand the development process for the purpose of improving land use management policy and conserving our water resources.

Go out and look at the catch basin or ditch in front of your home. Where does that water go? It flows directly to some natural water body without any treatment. For Duluthians eventually it ends up in Lake Superior. The City takes its drinking water from the Lake. Doesn’t it make sense to be careful what goes into that water?


It easy to see how you get water in the system if there is a catch basin in front of your house and your driveway slopes to the road or the downspouts off you apartment pour to the road, but for others the picture is not as clear.