…polluted runoff is the number one cause of water pollution in Northern Virginia? That’s right, the very same rain that washes streets, yards, and parking lots clean is sending chemicals, bacteria, and trash down the drain and into the local creeks where our kids play and fish and animals live! That’s the bad news. But the good news is that if we work together, we can clean it up! The Northern Virginia Clean Water Partners have prepared this website to help you make choices that will protect and benefit both people and the environment.

Activities of the Clean Water Partners are managed by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission on their behalf.

Questions or comments can be sent to cmiles@novaregion.org


Did you know that fertilizers contain nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, which have a negative impact on the health and water quality of our local streams and the Chesapeake Bay? Plants can only utilize a certain amount of fertilizer, and the excess fertilizer washes away with the rain into neighborhood streams. Pesticides and herbicides used on lawns can wash off in the same manner. These chemicals indiscriminately kill beneficial plants and aquatic animals in our streams, the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.

Green Thumb Tips
  • Before applying fertilizer, test your soil. You may not need to fertilize! Contact your local extension office for a soil test kit.

  • Fall is the best time to fertilize. Always read the instructions on the bag.

  • Avoid using chemicals in your yard. Keep it healthy for you, your family and your pets!

  • Try composting! Composting is a great way to recycle trimmings from your yard, and you can use the mulch to enrich your soil and feed your plants.

  • Leave your clippings. After mowing your law, leave the lawn clippings on the grass as free fertilizer. Do not blow clippings into the street or sidewalks where they can be washed into storm drains.

  • Use native plants. Native plants are adapted to the local climate and thrive in our local conditions without fertilizers and chemicals. They help feed local wildlife too!

  • Recycle your rainwater! Direct your downspouts to your garden beds to take advantage of the runoff from your house. Collect some of the water in a rain barrel or cistern.

Visit Plant NOVA Natives for more information on choosing native plants for your landscape!