How to Get Involved

Learn more about why it is important to protect surface water and what you can do! 

Adopt A Drain

Adopt a drain

After choosing your storm drain or drains, keep your drains clear of debris and litter between October and March in order to prevent local flooding and improve water quality in our region.  

To learn more, visit the Adopt-A-Drain page.

Limit Water Use

Volunteer in the community to do projects that help salmon, such as planting native plants along rivers and streams or removing invasive plants.

Limit your water use. Leave more surface water for salmon.

  • Use as little water as possible for washing, cleaning, flushing, showering, etc.
  • Water gardens and lawns in early morning and evening when more water is absorbed and less is wasted.
  • Use native plants in landscaping, which require less water.
  • Use a mulching lawn mower. Set your lawnmower to 2 to 3 inches height to get deeper, healthier grass roots that will retain moisture.
Limit Electricity

Limit electric consumption. 

  • Electricity is produced at dams, which can block salmon migration. Limiting your electrical use decreases the demand for dam-generated electricity.
  • Buy energy efficient electrical appliances.
Cleaning Chemicals

Reduce use of cleaning chemicals outside. 

  • Phosphates used in many cleaning supplies encourage plant growth in water, which use the oxygen fish need.
  • Use only low-phosphate detergents for cleaning your house exterior.
  • Never dump waste in storm drains, especially oils, paints, antifreeze, because they drain directly into rivers and lakes and can kill fish.
  • Sweep driveways and sidewalks with a broom instead of using the hose. Washing sidewalks and driveways sends car pollutants into storm drains, and then into creeks and lakes.
  • Wash your car on the lawn, so water won’t drain to the street or storm drains. Or, go to a commercial car wash where waste water is sent to the sewer.

Take care when living near water.

  • Scoop up all pet poop and put it in the trash. Pet waste is a major source of water pollution.
  • Plant native plants along streams. The plants shade the water for salmon.
  • Use natural ground cover or porous materials such as gravel or bark instead of asphalt and concrete for paths.
  • Let roof runoff soak into the ground. Avoid piping to ravines or streams as it causes stream bank erosion.
  • Information was taken from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s "Your Impact on Salmon/Fish A Self-Assessment." (PDF)
Fix car leaks

Fix car leaks. Don’t drip and drive

Check, diagnose, and repair leaks that could damage your car and pollute stormwater.

Rain Garden

Install a rain garden. 

  • A rain garden collects water from rooftops, driveways, sidewalks and other hard surfaces and allows water to be filtered as it soaks into the ground. Typical rain gardens in the region naturally filters 30,000 gallons of water per year, enough to fill a bathtub 600 times!
  • Rain gardens can be installed at a house, apartment complex, school, and more!
  • Learn to create your own rain garden using the Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington!
Natural Yard Care

Use natural yard care.

  • Rain washes pesticides and fertilizers off lawns and gardens into nearby storm drains and local waterways. Natural yard care techniques will grow healthy, beautiful, and easy-to-care-for yards and gardens that are safer for your family, pets, and the environment. Natural Yard Care resources.
  • Download the Natural Yard Care guide to learn how to put these steps into practice. This guide provides a handy calendar for you to follow each season. Natural Yard Care Guide.
  • Limit pesticide use, fertilizers reduce good fish habitat by encouraging the growth of plants in water that deplete oxygen for fish.
  • Avoid use of weed killers. Pull weeds by hand.
  • Store chemicals in original containers, which are sealed and covered and where there is no chance for them to leak into the soil or storm drains.
  • Landscape with pest-resistant plants so you won’t need bug and weed killers.
  • Never pour left-over chemicals down drains.
  • Use slow-release natural fertilizers.
Dog Poop

Pick up pet waste and throw it away. 

  • Pet waste contains bacteria that can infect people and pets and impact recreation at Lake Ballinger.
  • Bring a bag with you when you take your pet for a walk.
  • Know where nearby trash cans are and throw waste away.
Car Wash

Use a commercial car wash. 

  • The most environmentally friendly way to wash your vehicle is to go to a commercial car wash.
  • Do not wash your car on a hard surface. If you wash your car at home, do it on grass where the water will be treated and soak into the ground.
Oil Spill

Spill Reporting. 

  • Nothing but rain should go down the drain!
  • Call Laura Reed at the City of Mountlake Terrace if you see car washing in the street, spilled paint, oil spills, etc. (Phone: 425-744-6226 | Email:

Pet waste dog poster

Close Dumpsters to Protect Creeks

Open dumpsters let rain wash pollutants through drain holes and into storm drains.  

Keep dumpsters closed to prevent "dumpster soup" from reaching local creeks and lakes.

leaky dumpster with hole

Image Courtesy of Pierce County

Mobile cleaning businesses, this Best Management Practices brochure is for you!

Contact Us For Questions or to Provide Input on Stormwater Issues.

Laura Reed

Stormwater Program Manager

Phone: 425-744-6226

More Information