Streams and Urban Runoff

What is stormwater and how does it impact water quality?

In urban and suburban areas, like Farmers Branch, much of the land surface is covered by buildings and pavement which do not allow rain to soak into the ground. Instead, this water, known as stormwater, runs off into the stormwater system. 

The stormwater system is a network of drains and pipes that ultimately end up in a waterway--be it a stream, creek, pond, lake, or river. In Farmers Branch, there are three creeks: Cooks Creek, Farmers Branch Creek, and Rawhide Creek.

When stormwater runoff enters the storm drains, it carries with it pollutants it comes into contact with like oil, dirt, chemicals, and lawn fertilizers. These end up in streams where they seriously harm water quality.

Learn More About Urban Runoff

While water covers 71 percent of the earth’s surface, less than 1 percent of that is accessible fresh water. We must protect our limited fresh water supplies from harmful contaminants. Non-point source pollution is the biggest threat to water quality today, meaning that many small actions build into a big problem. It is up to all of us to do our part to make the world a better place. After all, it all comes back to you in the end.

What can I do to help?

Everyone lives in a watershed and can help improve water quality in streams, creeks, ponds, lakes and rivers.  

If you live on a property with a creek or waterway plants can help filter stormwater and prevent erosion.  Learn more about how plants are important to waterways and Healthy Creeks.  

Wherever you live picking up after pets, disposing of chemicals properly, and checking for leaks from cars can reduce water pollution. Listen to Freddy the Fish and help to make sure the only thing in the storm drain is rain!  

  • Apply pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers according to the product label. Contact the product manufacturer if any questions arise regarding the applications of the chemicals needed. Apply lawn chemicals far in advance of a rain event to reduce the amount of runoff.
  • Repair leaking vehicles. The oil and grease that leaks onto the drive is carried off your driveway and into nearby streams such as Farmers Branch Creek, Rawhide Creek, and Cooks Creek.
  • Wash your vehicle at a commercial car wash in town. At these facilities, the detergent, dirt, oil and grease from the washing is sent to the sanitary sewer system where it is later treated and released for a beneficial use. There are numerous self serve and full service car washes in Farmers Branch.
  • Use a mulching blade on your lawn mower or capture the grass for mulch. Blowing excess grass into the street travels to the creeks and reduces water quality by adding nutrients for unwanted bacterial and algae growth.
  • "Do the Right Thing" and pick up after your pet when it "Doo's" and place into the trash. This prevents your pet's waste from being picked up by stormwater and transported to the water ways which can cause elevated counts of bacteria in the creeks.