Leaf Litter

GriffinKeep our rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams clean – Pick-up Your Leaves!

Bag, mulch, or compost your leaves, but do not rake them into the street or dump them down storm drains! Blocking storm drains can cause flooding, and large amounts of leaves in our water can lead to an excess of decaying organic material in waterways with results that are harmful to both humans and animals.


Why do leaves cause water pollution???

Left on land, leaves decompose, feeding your plants and enriching your soil. But when large amounts of leaves are washed off our lawns, down our driveways, into storm drains, and into our water bodies -- they release phosphorus and nitrogen into our water, contributing to water pollution. 


These elevated levels of nutrients in our water can:

  • Cause “blue-green algae”, or cyanobacteria blooms, which are toxic to both humans and wildlife and are considered a public health hazard;
  • Kill fish through the depletion of oxygen in the water, called “eutrophication”; and
  • Cause the growth of large amounts of algae and invasive plants, choking up the waterway.


What can YOU do?

Keep leaves out of the storm drain and your rivers, lakes, and ponds! 


  • Mix your leaves into your compost pile, creating a nutrient-rich fertilizer for your plants.
  • Use a mulching mower and create mulch from your leaves to use in flower beds. 

After enjoying the fall foliage, compost, mulch, or bag your leaves for curbside pickup. But whatever you do, don't dump them in a storm drain or leave them on the sidewalk! Leaves that get washed down the storm drain can cause pollution in our waterways and flooding in our neighborhoods. Want more tips? Visit: www.mysticriver.org/stormwater