We all can help save the Chesapeake Bay throughout the year, becoming a better steward at home by following these simple tips:

• Use natural cleaners. Use natural, non-toxic, phosphate-free cleaners for most cleaning tasks to reduce toxic chemicals in wastewater.

• Reduce fertilizer use. Always get a soil test first to be sure what your lawn requires; use fertilizer sparingly, and only when necessary. Excessive fertilizers contribute to nitrogen and phosphorous overload in rivers and the Bay, which can lead to low oxygen levels and dead zones.

• Only rain in storm drains. Allow only rain to go down the storm drain and use a broom, not a hose or power blower, to clean debris from decks, patios and driveways. You'll save water, reduce emissions, and curb stormwater runoff.

• Practice Bay friendly car care. Take your vehicle to a commercial car wash or wash your car on an unpaved surface with phosphate-free soap so water soaks into the ground, not into the storm drain.

• Reduce rainwater runoff. Direct rainwater away from paved surfaces; direct gutter downspouts onto lawn or flower beds, or into a rain barrel.

Source: Chesapeake Bay Foundation