Rural Relationship Advice

Wetland in fall

Most relationship advice columnists will tell you it’s probably not a good idea to try to change the one you love. When it comes to the relationship you have with your rural property, we can apply the same advice. Hot on the heels of Valentine’s Day, here are two reasons why loving your property as it is will help you maintain a happy and healthy relationship.

Advice from our Stewardship Coordinators

Wild is wonderful

Your forest, wetland or streambank might look wild and untidy with fallen branches, leaves and other natural debris. But this debris is a source of food and shelter for insects and other wildlife. Fallen trees and branches become insect buffets for birds and other wildlife. And as they break down, they return nutrients to the soil.

Woody debris, reeds, cattails and other shrubbery in wetlands and around streams help slow water flow to reduce soil erosion and filter pollutants. After spawning season, young fish shelter from predators and the hot sun beneath fallen branches. Slowing water flow can also help reduce down-stream flood risk. So instead of tidying up, set up trail cams and see who’s enjoying the mess!

Why raking less benefits your property and the environment

Find beauty beneath the surface

Your water well and septic bed may not be the features that made you fall in love with your property. But these subterranean systems are vital to rural living. You may feel tempted to hide the stark steel well pipe by planting up the surrounding area. But fertilizers, manure, herbicides and even some mulches used in gardens can compromise your drinking water quality. Out of sight may also mean out of mind. Hiding your well may lead you to forget to inspect it regularly.

How to care for your well and protect your water quality

The same goes for your septic system. Avoid planting trees or driving heavy vehicles or machinery near or over the leaching bed. Tree roots can clog the pipes and compacted soils from vehicle traffic can reduce soil permeability and even break pipes. Both situations can lead to groundwater contamination.

Quick tips to keep your septic system healthy and working properly

Want more advice?

CVC’s rural residential and agricultural stewardship coordinators are here to help you build a long-lasting relationship with your land and water. We offer free site visits, technical assistance and funding for projects such as:

  • Native tree and shrub planting
  • Native grassland and meadow restoration
  • Wetland and stream restoration
  • Well upgrades and dam decommissioning
  • Cover cropping, livestock fencing and erosion control

Connect with us to learn more.

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