NRPA asks residents to help waterways

Published 7:00 pm Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Suffolk organization will ask residents to help protect Suffolk waterways with a new program that starts next month.

The Nansemond River Preservation Alliance will begin its “Water Wise Homes” program by distributing postcards with the help of the Nansemond River Garden Club. These cards will encourage residents to accomplish at least six actions every day to reduce pollution runoff in Suffolk waterways.

“This is what all citizens can do,” NRPA President and Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Taraski said. “This is a program designed so that everyone can make a difference.”

Email newsletter signup

She said bacteria levels in the Nansemond River and other major waterways were well above normal in a December 2016 study. Among the causes of these bacteria “hotspots” are pollutants carried by heavy rain into nearby bodies of water.

Residents can assist with daily practices like picking up litter and pet waste, or raising their lawnmower blades at least three inches to let grass grow and absorb more rainwater. Residents can go even further by planting.

Taraski encourages residents to plant native plants, shrubs and trees to fight water runoff with their root systems.

“The water follows the path of the roots when you have a rain event,” she said.

Native plants also support the wildlife that add to Suffolk’s charm.

“It’s what makes life in Suffolk special,” she said. “We have beautiful waterways and outstanding wildlife.”

Residents who agree to do more can fill out their cards and mail them back to the NRPA. They will receive a special decal for their efforts to continue raising awareness.

“It increases the awareness that people can make a difference,” Taraski said.

The NRPA is a group that protects the environment with the help of Suffolk businesses, community organizations, and its numerous volunteers and program participants. Taraski said she has an email list of 450 program participants.

“The reason we are successful is that we have a community that is concerned about protecting the waterways,” she said. “You need the entire community to come together to make a difference.”

Call 745-7447 for more information.