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What can you do to make a positive difference in Portage County's groundwater quality and quantity?  

The previous sections focused on building awareness, knowledge, and skills.  The final step in developing an environmentally literate person is taking action.  You can help through individual actions, group actions, the political process, and/or education.

bulletAgricultural Practices
bulletPolitical Action


bulletChemical & Hazardous Material Use
bulletSeptic Systems


bulletConserve Water
bulletWaste Reduction


bulletWater and Soil Testing


bullet Form a new or join an existing Groundwater Guardian Team


bulletGet Involved & Stay Informed


bulletYard Maintenance Practices

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Agricultural Practices:

bulletapply research studies about improved or new agricultural technologies or practices
bulletCommunity Supported Agricultural Diversification Research Project
bulletDevelopment and Evaluation of an Agricultural
Chemical Fate Modeling System Using GIS
bulletGIS Supported Modeling of Water Quality Using Artificial Neural Network (ANN) in the Tomorrow/Waupaca River Watershed
bulletgrow crops that require little or no fertilizer and pesticides
bulletproperly store and apply manure
bulletproperly store, use, and dispose of hazardous materials and chemicals
bulletreduce the use of fertilizers
bulletreduce the use of pesticides
bulletirrigate during morning and evening hours
bulletrotate crops
bulletuse nutrient management practices
bulletuse Integrated Crop Management (ICM) techniques

Chemical and Hazardous Material Use:

bulletproperly store, use, and dispose of household cleaners
bulletproperly store, use, and dispose of hazardous materials such as paint, pesticides, and other chemicals
bulletuse environmentally friendly cleaning alternatives

Conserve Water

bulletdon't let the water run while washing dishes or brushing your teeth
bulletfix leaking faucets or toilets
bulletplant native plant species in your yard
bulletuse water-saving devices
bulletwash full loads of laundry
bulletwater your lawn in early morning or at night
bullet conserve water & energy (Conserving Wisconsin's Water & Energy Resources brochure)


bulletattend public meetings and hearings to stay informed
bulletattend groundwater-related conferences and workshops
bulletgive presentations to community organizations and governmental boards
bulletteach lessons or activities to adults, and youth in school and/or scouts
bulletparticipate in and/or organize volunteer projects or programs
bulletjoin the PIE subcommittee or form/join a Wisconsin Groundwater Guardian Team

Form a New OR Join an Existing Groundwater Guardian (GG) Team

bullet join an existing Wisconsin GG Teams
bullet form a New Wisconsin GG Team

Get Involved and Stay Informed:

bulletattend public meetings on groundwater and other environmental issues
bulletattend workshops, conferences, and training sessions
bulletjoin organizations or clubs dedicated to protecting the groundwater resource and/or environment
bulletparticipate in and/or organize volunteer projects or programs
bulletsend your message to the media about events (newspaper, radio, TV)

Political Action

bullettake political action by voting, attending public meetings, writing letters to your editor and elected officials, participating in committees and more.
bulletsend your message to the media about events (newspaper, radio, TV)

Septic System:  

bullet consider installing a nitrate removal system to reduce the amount of nitrate leaching into the soil
bulletdon't dispose of hazardous materials, like paint thinner, down the drain
bullet properly locate, construct, and maintain septic systems
bulletwhen building a new septic system, consider new designs that reduce nitrate levels entering the soil

Waste Reduction:

bulletparticipate in your community recycling program
bulletcompost kitchen, yard, and crop waste
bulletreuse containers

Water and Soil Testing

bullettest your soil to learn nutrient makeup
bullettest your well water annually
bulletactions for high nitrate levels
bulletactions for high pesticide levels--preventative actions and reactive actions (pesticides in your water--what to do)
bulletconduct studies about the water quality of your watershed or groundwater
bulletPlover River Water Quality Research Project


bullet don't clean chemical storage or application devices near the well
bullet don't mix or store chemicals near the well
bullet properly locate, construct, and maintain  wells
bulletproperly seal abandoned wells
bullettest your water annually

Yard Maintenance Practices:  Lawn care and landscape practices can help create a healthier yard, reduce the need for chemicals and watering, and protect groundwater quality by decreasing runoff and leaching.

bulletavoid or reduce the use of fertilizers; if necessary use water-insoluble nitrogen (WIN), which is released slowly, in sandy soils
bulletavoid or reduce the use of pesticides
bulletleave clippings on the lawn to provide nutrients and reduce weed growth
bulletmow grass to no less than three inches to reduce weed growth and plant stress
bulletplant native vegetation species suitable for soil type, light, and moisture conditions
bulletplant a variety of trees, shrubs, and flowers
bulletsurround your planting beds with an edging or border to help control erosion and runoff
bullettest soil to determine lacking nutrients
bulletuse mulch in planting beds and gardens

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water cycle  |  groundwater defined  | groundwater movement  |  groundwater uses  |  contaminants   |  glossary
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