Westlake Watershed Group
History and Mission
From 1978-1983, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funded a series of studies known as the National Urban Runoff Program (NURP). These results proved that storm water contained many of the same pollutants as sewage systems. These studies put pressure on the EPA to implement permits for storm water discharge. The EPA resisted a full permitting effort due to the burden of having to process a large amount of permit applications.
Congress allowed the EPA to issue permits with a focus on the most contaminated storm water discharges. In late 2003, the first generation of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) MS4 (municipal separate storm sewer systems) permit was created to allow MS4’s to discharge storm water.
This required municipalities, including the City of Westlake, to develop and implement a Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP) to reduce the discharge of pollutants. The plan must focus on 6 minimum control measures set by the EPA:
- Public Education and Outreach
- Public Involvement and Participation
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
- Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Control
- Post Construction Storm Water Management
- Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations
In 2005, the Westlake Watershed Group was founded to help fulfill these requirements. The group's mission is to raise awareness of storm water quality and to promote healthy living and encouraging the community to "Go Green."
Receive Email Notices
Subscribe to receive notices of meetings, volunteer projects such as the stream cleanups, Rain and Garden Show flyer, etc.! Please send an email with the subject line of "Westlake Watershed" and the word "subscribe" in the body to firstname.lastname@example.org to opt-in.
Meetings are Open to All
Next meeting: TBD
The Westlake Watershed Group, a volunteer citizen’s committee comprised of Westlake residents, business people and City employees, was vested to meet the public education and involvement goals in the plan. Its meetings are open to the public and held at least four times a year at City Hall (March, June, September and December). A continental breakfast is provided.
Current Watershed Group Projects Storm drain Stenciling on local streets. Volunteers will be stenciling the message " Lake Eire Starts HERE" near storm drains to raise awareness about how water and pollution running into storm drains finds its way - untreated, into nearby creeks and Lake Erie. If you would like to assist in this project please email us subject line of "Westlake Watershed" and the word "stencil" in the body to email@example.com.
Upcoming Watershed Group Projects
- Install creek signs throughout the city in the 7 major creeks: Porter, Wilhelmy, Schwartz, Cahoon, Wischmeyer, Wolf, and Sperry. The group would also like to have educational signs at the watershed locations: Porter, Schwartz, Cahoon, Wischmeyer, Wolf and Sperry. Download Westlake Watesheds Map (PDF)
- Conduct multiple stream cleanups throughout the year. Please watch this page for the next cleanup announcement, this is great community service hours.
- Hold a stream sampling educational event
- Continue retention basin inspections with the Soil and Water Conservation District
Annual Rain and Garden Show
The City of Westlake and the Westlake Watershed Group sponsor the annual Rain and Garden Show to raise awareness on stormwater quality issues and to promote eco-friendly products and healthy living. Residents and businesses can meet with City departments and over thirty five local vendors.
The 2020 show, scheduled for April 4, has been cancelled in accordance with advice from state and county officials regarding potential health risks associated with large public gatherings.
Previous years' themes include:
- Rain Barrels
- Organic Fertilizer
- Rain Gardens
- Retention Basins
- Stream Health
- Stream Buffering
- Storm Water Runoff
Organic Fertilizer Campaign
Posters have been distributed throughout the city to encourage residents to minimize the use of chemical fertilizers. The use of organic fertilizers can help the microbes and organic life in the soil and have fewer effects on our environment. If chemical fertilizers are needed, avoid overusing and apply according to the package instructions. Don't put chemical fertilizers down before a forecasted rain.
Wash Your Car, Not the Stream Campaign
This poster is displayed on the Engineering Department counter and other locations in the city to educate the public on how to wash their cars with minimum impact on environment.
Untreated soap water can travel down the impervious surfaces of your driveway and sidewalk into the sewer and then into our streams which ultimately takes it to Lake Erie. Most soap used to wash vehicles contains phosphates and other chemicals that are harmful to fish, frogs and other wildlife.
Instead, pull your vehicle onto a grass or stone area before washing. The grass, soil and dirt are nature’s way of absorbing and purifying the water before it goes into our waterways.
Special Projects Improve Water Quality - Naturally
New restoration allows storm water to be treated naturally as it meanders through the preserve. Old detention and retention basins serve little to no water quality functions. The city has undertaken 3 such projects: Southbridge Stream Restoration, Columbia Creek Stream Restoration, and most recently, Dover Ditch Stream Restoration. We have also converted existing retention basins into water quality preserves.
Educational overlooks were incorporated into each of these locations. The trail to access the Dover Ditch Stream Restoration is located behind Evergreen Cemetery. Enter from the Cemetery or a walkway off Crocker Road on the eastside, south of Center Ridge.
Public Involvement and Participation
Show Your “Green” Pride
Westlake residents can visit the Engineering Department to explain or show pictures of how they are "going green."
Residents will receive a “Go Green for Westlake, For the World” yard sign to display in their yard.