Backyard Conservation: Small Steps, Big Impact
Some simple, effective tips for enhancing the wildlife habitat in your backyard and improving the water quality of Mud Creek.
Build a Bat House
Bats are great for insect control, seed dispersion and pollination.
Learn more: www.nwf.org
Create an Ephemeral Pond
Ephemeral (vernal) ponds are great breeding habitat for salamanders and many amphibians.
Find out more: VernalPondGuide.pdf
Plant a Wildflower Meadow
Meadows planted with a broad range of native wildflowers provide an important food source for bees, butterflies & other pollinators.
Find out more: AmericanMeadows.com
Build a Brush Pile
A brush pile provides shelter and nesting to birds and other wildlife. Simply collect and pile up downed tree limbs, 3 to 4 feet high.
Plant Native Trees and Shrubs
Native plants, trees and shrubs are an important source of food, shelter and nesting for many species. They also provide erosion control and aquifer protection, and reduce carbon dioxide by converting it into oxygen.
Find out about which native plants, trees and shrubs to use for landscaping: inpaws.org
Remove Invasive Species
Non-native species often crowd out preferred native plant species. This reduces the food supply for wildlife, which reduces biodiversity. Removing non-native species like garlic mustard and bush honeysuckle is a great project for school and scout troops.
Learn more about non-native species and how to control their spread at: inpaws.org
Control Erosion and Runoff
Reduce creek siltation and improve Mud Creek's water quality by controlling erosion. Use mulch, apply matting and plant native vegetation to minimize soil erosion.
Get a Rain Barrel
Rain barrels help conserve water and reduce runoff and erosion. Water collected in rain barrels can be used for landscaping and gardening.
A number of vendors sell rain barrels. Check out: circlecityrainbarrels.com
Avoid Monoculture and Weedkiller
Treated lawns reduce earthworms by 60 – 90%. Weed killer also kills bees and beneficial insects. A typical lawn receives 10 times as much chemical pesticide per acre as farmland. Lawn care also places a significant load on public water supplies. 30% of water used on the East Coast goes to watering lawns; 60% on the West Coast.
To have a great looking lawn without using weedkillers, improve the pH of your soil with lime, overseed to crowd out weeds, and plant native, drought-resistant grasses.
Don’t Discard Yard Waste
18% of municipal solid waste is yard waste, which uses up a lot of space in crowded landfills.
Yard waste can be a great source of natural fertilizer. To compost yard waste, mix equal parts leaves and grass, turn over often, and use the finished compost on your lawn in place of fertilizer.
Learn more at: CompostGuide.com
Avoid Colored Bark Mulch
It’s not the dye, it’s the source of the mulch. This can be treated lumber, non-native wood, or other waste products disguised as mulch. Use locally available natural mulch instead.
Don’t Dump Chemicals in the Sewer
Untreated chemicals are toxic pollutants. Drop off chemicals, paint and motor oil at authorized drop-off points. More information at the Indianapolis Toxic Waste website.
Don’t Feed Wildlife (except for birds)
Feeding wildlife creates a public nuisance, creates dependent wildlife and creates imbalances by artificially boosting populations of opportunistic species.
Don't leave food outside, and use secure garbage cans.
Don’t Landscape with Non-Native Species
Non-native species crowd out natives & reduce biodiversity. Learn about native plant species suitable for landscaping at: Inpaws.org