Volunteers are very important to the smooth functioning of events held in and around the Reservoir. Each event hosted by Rezonate and our partners could not exist without the generous help of the community members who volunteer their time and energy to fulfil our mission. Rezonate has many opportunities where you can help, whether its clean-ups on our rivers, or helping at major events such as WaterFest there is something for everyone. We invite you to join our volunteer team – you’re sure to meet some really great people, spend quality time on the Reservoir, and help make all Reservoir events the best yet! If you are committed to conserving our natural world, there is an opportunity for you at Rezonate! Volunteers should be at least 15 years of age. Volunteers younger than age 15 can volunteer along with a parent or guardian.
For more information about volunteering with Rezonate, please fill out our Volunteer form below or contact Robin Carter at 601-961-5508 or Robin_Carter@deq.state.ms.us
Help us protect the Ross Barnett Reservoir!
Simple day-to-day activities such as taking a shower, brushing our teeth, cooking, washing our car, or even turning on a light switch do not just start and end in our homes, but have a direct effect on the health of the Ross Barnett Reservoir. Learn what you can do to help the Reservoir.
1 – Maintain Your Septic System
If your home has a septic system, it’s important that you don’t ignore your system and put it “out of sight, out of mind.” Doing so can cost you money, as well as affect the health of your family, community and environment. Follow these simple tips to keep it working properly and avoid polluting the Reservoir.
– Have your septic system pumped out every three to five years.
– Be careful not to flush or pour down the drain anything that will kill the bacteria living in your septic tank. Healthy colonies of bacteria are necessary for the process that treats wastewater and reduces the amount of nutrients that seep into groundwater.
– Reduce your use of garbage disposals, as they contribute unnecessary solids and grease to your septic system. Try creating a compost pile instead.
– Do not use toilets as trash cans.
– Keep heavy vehicles away from your septic system.
– Do not plant trees or shrubs near your drain field. Roots can clog septic drain lines.
– Distribute your laundry chores throughout the week to avoid overloading your septic system on a particular day.
Other resources: EPS’s Homeowner’s Guide to Septic Systems
2 – Conserve Water
The more water we use, the more that is dumped into our septic systems and sewage treatment plants, requiring more energy use and costly upgrades over time. Fortunately, there are many simple ways you can help conserve this precious resource around your home.
– Fix leaky toilets and faucets. A dripping faucet can waste 20 gallons of water per day, while a leaking toilet can waste 200 gallons per day.
– Take shorter showers. Cutting your shower time by five minutes can save 10 to 12 gallons of water per shower. That’s a potential savings of up to 4,380 gallons per year!
– Turn off water while you shave, brush your teeth or wash dishes.
– Install water-saving devices, such as low-flow showerheads and toilet dams.
– Put a bucket in the shower or sink to catch water as it “warms up.” Use this extra water to water your plants or fill up pet bowls.
– Only run your dishwasher and washing machine when they are full.
3 – Reduce Energy Consumption
Reducing your electricity use will also reduce the amount of energy that needs to be generated by fossil fuel power plants. This will, in turn, reduce the amount of nutrients and chemical contaminants that can enter our Reservoir, rivers and streams.
Try these ideas to save electricity — and money!
– Turn off lights, TVs, stereos and computers (including monitors) when not in use.
– Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use fewer watts and last longer.
– Only run dishwashers, washing machines and dryers when they are full.
– Use fans instead of air conditioning when temperatures are not too hot.
– Invest in energy-efficient appliances, such as Energy Star qualified products.
– Instead of using an electric dryer, hang your clothes and sheets outside to dry.
– Make sure your house is weatherized and insulated properly to avoid heat escaping in the winter.
– Unplug cell phone chargers and similar devices when not in use.
4 -Reduce and Properly dispose of Hazardous Waste
Household hazardous wastes (HHW) include paints, cleaners, batteries, motor oil, nail polish, weed killers and drain treatments. Most of us have 50 to 100 pounds of HHW in our homes. While some products are essential to our everyday lives, HHW contain chemicals that are potentially harmful to both people and the environment.
Here are some things you can do to reduce the amount of these toxins in your home — and in the Reservoir.
– Become familiar with products in your home, garage and shed that may contain hazardous or toxic substances.
– Follow the directions on the label so you use only what’s needed. Twice as much doesn’t mean twice the results!
– Whether it is motor oil or paint thinner, make an effort to follow the safe (and legal) means of disposal (Never throw HHW down a drain, into the trash or onto your lawn or driveway!)
– Discover non-toxic alternatives to HHW. Using items you probably already have, such as baking soda, lemon juice and corn starch. Also, many companies offer non-toxic, all-natural and environmentally friendly cleaning products.
– Switch from disposable batteries to rechargeable batteries, which can be used again and again.
Consumer’s Guide to Household Hazardous Waste
5 – Limit Use of Pesticides and Fertilizers
While many of us think spring is the best time to start fertilizing our lawns, fall is actually the time of year when cool season grasses benefit most from fertilization. Heavy spring rains wash fertilizers off our lawns and into local waterways, where they can fuel the growth of algae, causing algal blooms, that can be detrimental to fish.
When you do fertilize, follow these tips to help protect the Reservoir:
– Have your soil tested to determine how much fertilizer your lawn actually needs (if any at all) and the best time to apply it. Also, identifying your grass will help you understand how to properly care for it.
– Follow manufacturer guidelines and only apply the amount of fertilizer that you need. Twice the product will not make your lawn twice as green!
– Keep fertilizer off hard surfaces like walkways, driveways and streets, where it will easily wash into storm drains and streams. If fertilizer falls on these hard surfaces, sweep it onto the lawn or scoop it up for later use.
– Do not apply fertilizer to swales or other drainage areas on your lawn.
– Never apply fertilizer to dormant lawns or on frozen ground.
– Consider organic fertilizers which typically release nutrients more slowly than synthetic fertilizers.
– Try to control products that use safer, non-toxic ingredients. Many are just as effective as their toxic counterparts.
– If you must use pesticides with toxic ingredients, never buy or use more than you need and take care in their storage and disposal.
6 – Reduce Runoff
Most of the pollution to the Reservoir and its tributaries comes from runoff: water that washes pollutants off the land and into storm drains and local water bodies. You can help reduce polluted runoff from your property by:
– Picking up after your pet, whether in your yard, on the sidewalk or in a park. It’s a dirty job, but pet waste can contribute nutrients and bacteria to local water bodies, many of which provide drinking water to local communities.
– Fixing car leaks so engine fluids like oil and antifreeze don’t run onto the ground and into storm drains.
– Washing your car on grass or gravel, rather than on pavement. The grass or gravel will absorb and filter soapy, grimy water, rather than allowing it to runoff your driveway into the nearest stream or storm drain.
– Planting a buffer or “fence” of trees and shrubs that will absorb water before it runs off your property.
– Installing rain barrels to catch gutter water that runs off your roof. This water can then be used to water plants and gardens.
7 – Participate in your community’s recycling program
Community recycling programs play an essential part in educating residents about the importance of recycling and its environmental benefits. Take a look at the information below:
Recycling in Madison County
Recycling in Rankin County
Recycling in Hinds County
Mississippi Recycling Coalition
8 – Plant Trees
Not only are trees beautiful, but they provide many environmental benefits, including:
– Reducing soil erosion and controlling runoff from your yard.
– Providing beneficial habitat and food for backyard birds, butterflies and animals.
– Cleaning drinking water by filtering polluted runoff.
– Cleaning and cooling our air and returning pure oxygen to the atmosphere.
– Buffering noise.
Top 10 Things YOU Can Do to Protect Your Watershed
The Ross Barnett Reservoir, in addition to its use as a water supply source, is used extensively for recreation- primarily boating, fishing, and water-skiing. While we’re having fun on the water, we need to be mindful that our actions can have an impact on the Reservoir.
Follow these tips to make your time on the Reservoir good clean fun.
Keep Waste on Board
Human waste contributes to pollution that harms the health of the Reservoir and its rivers. Keep waste in a portable toilet or holding tank, and only dispose of it at an approved disposal facility. Encourage your marina owner to maintain an adequate pump-out facility, if one is not available.
Maintain Your Engine and Prevent Fuel Spills
Engine exhaust and spilled or leaking fuel oil can be harmful or fatal to the water quality of the Reservoir. Prevent fuel spills by using a funnel and not “topping off” when filling your tank.
Observe Wake Laws
Wakes from boats and personal watercraft can erode shorelines and stir up bottom sediments affecting aquatic plants that grow in shallow waters. Boaters should observe no-wake zones and speed limits.
Stash Your Trash
Litter from recreational boaters adds to a growing problem of too much trash in the water. Stow used bags, bottles, fishing lines and other trash in a plastic bag to throw away or recycle when you get back on land.
Properly Dispose of Chemicals
When using paint, cleaners and antifouling agents on your boat, use extreme caution and properly dispose of them. Used oil can be dropped off at oil collection facilities.
Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species
Never dump your bait or aquarium fish into a storm drain, stream, lake, creek, river or the Reservoir. Also, to avoid the spread of aquatic invasive species, clean your boat hull before moving it to another body of water.
LAND DEVELOPERS AND CONTRACTORS
Construction activities, aside from the actual building of structures, typically involve a combination of clearing land, removing vegetation, grading the land surface, excavating earth, removing and importing soil and/or rock, installing utilities, installing septic systems or sewer lines, building access roads and driveways, and establishing permanent landscaping.
These construction-related activities have the proven potential to affect water quality in nearby streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, reservoirs and ground water aquifers. Water quality impacts can result from erosion, sedimentation, minor chemical spills and leaks, and pollutants carried in runoff from the site to nearby water bodies. The construction phase of land development can be a significant threat to local water quality, particularly because of the area of exposed land. This can contribute large loads of sediment to the site runoff. Significant sediment loads can impair drinking water sources and can inhibit the efficiency of drinking water treatment processes. Sediments from construction sites could also act as vehicles for other available pollutants, such as metals, petroleum-based compounds, and other organic chemicals, that adsorb easily into sediments. Therefore, the most effective way to protect nearby drinking water sources during the construction phase is to keep sediment from moving off-site and from entering any surface waterbodies.
Adapted from: http://www.epa.gov/NE/eco/drinkwater/
Developers and Contractors can do the following to reduce impacts to water quality:
– Before clearing a site, have the storm water permit in hand and install the required sediment controls such as silt fences, storm detention and retention ponds, and sediment basins to return sediment on site.
The State of Mississippi’s storm water regulations require erosion and sediment control permits for construction projects 5 acres and greater, and as of March 10, 2003, for 1 acre and greater and for surface mining sites.
For permitting information call (601) 961-5171, access MDEQ’s website at www.deq.state.ms.us or write:
Chief, Environmental Permits Division
MS Dept. of Environmental Quality
Office of Pollution Control
P.O. BOX 2261
Jackson, MS 39225
– Minimize disturbances to trees and vegetation. Retaining natural vegetation around creeks and drainage areas is of special importance.
– Follow storm water management guidelines when designing and installing drainage systems.
– Do not channel concentrated runoff flows into natural creeks and gullies.
– Implement Low Impact Development (LID) to your construction design. This approach to development can not only help water quality, but if the approach is comprehensively integrated in the design phase of a project, it can also save the developer money.
See EPA website on LID: www.epa.gov/owow/nps/lid/
– Design drainage systems to maximize infiltration into the soil and minimize concentrated flows which may require curbs and gutters.
– Correct erosion problems immediately. It’s The Law!
As farmers consider ways to maximize their productivity and profitability, their focus also needs to be on protecting water quality. Farmers can do their part to protect the Reservoir and its tributaries by:
1. Incorporating Best Management Practices (BMP’s) into your farming operation.
2. Getting a conservation plan or following an existing one.
3. Keeping livestock out of streams and riparian zones where their waste can pollute the water and their movements can cause erosion.
4. Managing manure for maximum crop nutrient value and minimum runoff.
5. Leaving vegetative buffers along stream banks to control erosion and to filter pollutants.
6. Not allowing water used to wash out animal confinement areas to enter waters of the state. Facilities for treatment or disposal of wastewater generated at animal confinements should seek a permit from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, 601-961-5171.
7. Disposing of dead animals in an approved manner. Composting is preferred to burial for small animals such as chickens.
8. Applying chemicals at the proper rate and not when rainfall is imminent. Dispose of pesticides, containers and tank rinse water in an approved manner. Encourage a pesticide container recycling program in your community.
9. Plugging unused wells and caping artesian wells.
10. Using proper logging and erosion control practices on your forest lands by ensuring proper construction, maintenance and closure of logging roads. Retain trees and shrubs on the edges of drainage channels, streams and rivers.
11. Recycling waste oil generated in farm use.
Read EPA’s Protecting Water Quality fro Agricultural Runoff
60 Ways Farmers Can Protect Surface Water
What can businesses in and around the Pearl River watershed do to become involved in protecting and restoring the Ross Barnett Reservoir? Here are some ways businesses can step up their efforts to reduce waste and pollution, as well as educate their employees about how they can help improve the health of the Reservoir.
1. Reduce Paper Use
As a nation, we generate 85 million tons of paper waste and use 3.7 million tons of copy paper annually. Instead of cutting down trees, cut down on paper waste by printing less and recording data electronically.
2. Switch It Off
Make sure to turn off your computer, monitor and office light at the end of the day or before you leave for a long meeting.
3. Ditch the Disposables
Instead of using (and throwing away) disposable plates, cups and utensils during your lunch and coffee breaks every day, keep a set of reusable dishware in your office or lunchroom.
Make an effort to bring your lunch to work in reusable containers, rather than getting take-out or heading to vending machines (which use lots of disposables bags and containers). This will help cut down on the amount of waste entering the watershed’s landfills.
Some benefits include: saving energy, saving land space, saving money, creating new jobs, reducing air and water pollution and preserving habitat for wildlife.
5. Practice the Three R’s:
First, Reduce how much you use, then Reuse what you can, and then Recycle the rest. Then, dispose of what’s left in the most environmentally friendly way.
Adapted from: http://www.epa.gov/epahome/home.htm#recycle
– Buy permanent items instead of disposables.
– Buy and use only what you need.
– Buy products with less packaging.
– Buy products that use less toxic chemicals.
– Repair items as much as possible.
– Use durable coffee mugs.
– Use cloth napkins or towels.
– Clean out juice bottles and use them for water.
– Use empty jars to hold leftover food.
– Reuse boxes.
– Purchase refillable pens and pencils.
– Participate in a paint collection and reuse program.
– Donate extras to people you know or to charity instead of throwing them away.
– Recycle paper (printer paper, newspapers, mail, etc.), plastic, glass bottles, cardboard, and aluminum cans. If your community doesn’t collect at the curb, take them to a collection center.
– Recycle electronics.
– Recycle used motor oil.
– Compost food scraps, grass and other yard clippings, and dead plants.
– Close the loop — buy recycled products and products that use recycled packaging. That’s what makes recycling economically possible.
US EPA New England: What Your Business Can Do To Protect & Secure Drinking Water Sources
Local governments are critical partners in restoring and protecting their local waterways. Here are some ways that local governments can help protect and restore the Ross Barnett Reservoir:
1. Sponsor a tour to identify potential causes of NPS (nonpoint source) pollution in your community and to illustrate the application of BMP’s.
2. Sponsor an amnesty day and allow people to bring in old paint, chemicals, oil and other chemical waste for proper disposal.
3. Publicly encourage other civic, environmental, business and governmental groups to join you in sponsoring sound preventive measures.
4. Encourage local government officials to develop construction erosion/sediment control ordinances in your community.
5. Consider the impact to streams, rivers, and lakes when making planning and zoning decisions.
While you may spend your summers swimming, boating or simply enjoying the Ross Barnett Reservoir or one of its many rivers and creeks, heading into the classroom each fall doesn’t mean you should forget about the region’s water resources.
Here’s a small sampling of things you can do to reduce your impact on the natural environment while hitting the books at school.
1. Reuse Old School Supplies
Use the previous year’s backpack, pencils, notebooks and other supplies if they are still in good condition.
Renew/Reuse Guide for Schools
2. Cover Books with Newspaper or Paper Grocery Bags
Reusing these paper products is a Reservoir-friendly alternative to buying book covers at the store.
3. Pack a Waste-Free Lunch
Bring your lunch in a reusable lunchbox or cooler, or reuse your paper lunch bag for several days if it is still in good condition. Pack sandwiches and snacks in reusable containers instead of plastic bags, and bring drinks in a Thermos or reusable bottle instead of a disposable container.
4. Raise Reservoir Awareness
Start or get involved with an environmental club at your school to help raise awareness of Reservoir-related issues. Encourage your school to keep the Reservoir in mind by recycling and being energy efficient.