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Groups come together to promote clean water practices

July 3, 2012

Two Wisconsin water groups have united to launch the marketing campaign, "Respect Our Waters," in an effort to educate southeastern Wisconsin residents about the actions they can take to help improve the quality of local rivers and Lake Michigan.

The Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, also known as Sweet Water, and Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network are spearheading a television advertising campaign featuring a puppet, Sparkles the Water Spaniel, to emphasize bad and good human behavior. Funding comes from grants from 28 municipalities and the state Department of Natural Resources.

In four spots, Sparkles talks about the importance of picking up yard debris, cleaning up dog droppings, using lawn fertilizer and chemicals responsibly, and preventing oil and fluids from leaking from cars.

The groups are urging area residents to pick up pet waste, leave grass clippings on the lawn, use lawn fertilizer and chemicals sparingly, inspect vehicles to make sure they're not leaking fluids and test soil to make sure the yard really needs the extra nutrients before applying fertilizer. The goal is to keep items from washing into storm sewers and flowing into waterways.

In addition, planting rain gardens and trees; directing downspouts into rain barrels, the yard or garden instead of the sewer or driveway; and using a carwash or washing cars on the lawn will help prevent pollution, the groups say.

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