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Episode 14: "Yard care, salmon and Puget Sound"

Synopsis: The Yard Talk duo explains that we’re are only as far away from a stream, river or Puget Sound, as the storm drain in our street. Runoff from our yards and driveways flows into storm drains and is whisked directly into our waterways. Greg and Doug show us how to prevent soaps, doggie doo, and chemicals from sending our water quality…down the drain.

Protecting water quality starts at home

  • Know where your property’s run off goes—locate the storm drains or ditches on your street and find out where that water flows.
  • Keep dirt, litter, and other junk out of your storm drains.
  • Protect bare soil with mulch and replace or shrink your lawn with a variety of native plants.
  • Use pervious pavers
  • Avoid pesticides and quick release fertilizers which end up in the nearest body of water and slowly poison marine creatures.
  • If your property borders a body of water, consider creating a natural buffer like Robin’s that will provide good habitat for salmon.
  • Don’t wash your car in your driveway. The soaps and grime that go down the storm drain kill fish instantly. Instead, take your car to a carwash where the water is recycled and reused. And the underside of your car is washed as well.
  • Do everyone a favor and dispose of pet waste the right way: Bag it and put it in the trash.
  • Support companies that are members of Envirostars, a regional program that recognizes businesses that reduce hazardous waste and help keep the water clean.

Greg's tips & tricks

Greg explains ways to prevent pet waste from harming water quality.

Doug’s designs

Doug gives a tour of a garden he designed to support the salmon-bearing stream it borders.


Gregory Smaus of Native Roots Designs talks about designing a beautiful yard to minimize the harmful effects of runoff.

Show resources

Washington State University King County Extension - (External link)

Native Plant Landscaping Guide

Seattle Tilth’s Garden hotline - (External link)

Please Note: This list of resources is provided by King County as a courtesy to the public and does not endorse or guarantee the quality of the service offered or provided.

Check schedule for air times.

Yard Talk is brought to you by KCTV and the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

For questions about this web page, please contact Greg Rabourn, Community Stewardship Specialist, Water and Land Resources Division.