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What You Can Do

Regardless of whether you choose to become a member of Friends of the La Crosse River Marsh (although we hope you do!) there are things you can do to help the La Crosse River marsh thrive,


Hover over the pictures below to see what you can do where you live and work to help create and maintain a healthy marsh.

Traditional lawns do a poor job of capturing excess storm water. Instead, our lawns shed water into the streets and gutters where it picks up sediment, oil and garbage and carries it all directly to our local waterways and marsh. Using rain barrels and building rain gardens allows some, if not all, of this extra water to be captured before it leaves your property. Depending on how much water you can capture you might even qualify for storm water credits on your next water utility bill!

Credit: Barb Howe | Flickr

Capture storm water runoff.

The chemicals we put on our lawns and gardens are often toxic to humans as well as the pollinators we depend on. If that weren't enough, they also typically end up washing out of our yards and into our waterways.  In fact, phosphorous and nitrogen from fertilizers not only negatively impacts the health of the La Crosse River and marsh, but they eventually find their way to the mouth of the Mississippi River, contributing to the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico.

Credit: T-Bone Sandwich| Flickr

Grow a chemical and fertilizer free lawn.

Yes, the City of La Crosse collects the leaves we rake up every autumn, but many of these leaves end up clogging the sewer drains and washing into the marsh. Over time, the extra leaves in the marsh fosters an excess of duck weed and depletes oxygen which kills fish. Instead of raking, set your mower to mulch and leave your leaves on your lawn. Not only does it benefit the marsh, but mulched leaves serve as a natural fertilizer, feeding your lawn all winter long.

Credit: David Morris | Flickr

Rake less. Mulch more.

While using salt can prevent slipping and sliding, it eventually finds its way to our waterways, including the marsh, where it harms the plants and fouls the water. Instead, use an environmentally friendly product like calcium magnesium acetate. Better yet, use a good shovel and some elbow grease to remove ice and get in a good workout!

Credit: Norm Wright | Flickr

Stop salting in the winter.

For even more about protecting our local waters and wetlands, visit two of our go-to sites:

La Crosse Urban Stormwater Group

Wisconsin Wetlands Association

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