River Smart Pledge

I care about protecting the quality of water in our watershed. I know that clean rivers, streams, ponds, wetlands, and aquifers are necessary for health, recreation, and the survival of all creatures.I want to be River Smart! I commit to taking at least four of the following steps to protect our local water resources. I will strive to achieve all where appropriate for my home

In maintaining my lawn, gardens, and landscape, I will… (PICK 2)


  • nurture native trees, shrubs, and flowers around my home. I will limit lawn areas. I will plant or allow natural buffers to grow at the edges of streams and wetlands.


  • mow my lawn properly, following the rule “mow high and let it lie.” I will use the highest setting on the mower, not cut more than one third of the height of the grass, and allow the clippings to lie as mulch.


  • water my yard infrequently or not at all. I recognize that one inch of water a week is usually fine. I will not water when the sun is high or overnight. I will recognize that brown grass is dormant, not dead. It will return to life when rain comes.


  • use fertilizer carefully or not at all. I will have the soil tested to determine what my yard needs. I will never apply phosphorus on an established lawn unless the soil is deficient. If necessary, I will use only a slow-release, low-concentration fertilizer or natural compost.


  • abstain from using pesticides and herbicides. I will protect children, pets, birds, and butterflies from lawn-care toxins. I will only spot treat if absolutely necessary.


  • create natural places for the water to soak into the ground. I will use swales or rain gardens to manage stormwater. I will limit paved areas and will use pervious materials when possible for patios, driveways, and walkways.

In maintaining other areas around my home, I will… (PICK 2)


  • have my septic system pumped out regularly.


  • fix leaky faucets and toilets, and only buy water-efficient appliances and fixtures.


  • use non-toxic cleaners and “green” building materials in my home.


  • learn how to dispose of unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications.


  • dispose of pet waste in the trash or a pet-waste processor (better).


  • wash my vehicles in a carwash or on the grass, but not on my driveway.

River Smart is led cooperatively by Housatonic Valley Association, Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition, Kent Land Trust, Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust, Rivers Alliance of Connecticut, and the Farmington River Watershed Association. The initiative was made possible through generous grant support from Connecticut Community Foundation, Ellen Knowles Harcourt Foundation, LUSH Cosmetics’ Charity Pot Program, Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, the Merchants of New Preston Village, the City of Derby and Pitney Bowes.

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