If you really pay attention, there are lots of  good things that  “government” does for us.  They are not always visible, and sometimes not too exciting, but they are rather necessary. Case in point for this blog: Pima Association of Governments (PAG)  has a new “Clean Water Starts With Me” Watershed Pocket Guide that is really fun, interesting and informative.  They nailed it!

Why a Pocket Guide?  Tucson is a Monsoon hot spot. For those of you not familiar with Monsoon season, residents (and our plants and wildlife) beg for these drenching summer storms. Some of us even grab our cameras to catch a lightning show that puts fireworks to shame. However, flash flooding and renegade runoff comes with the territory and so does stormwater pollution.

The new Pocket Guide doesn’t just cover facts about polluted stormwater and what happens when it enters the fragile desert washes. It  integrates watershed and natural heritage awareness with proactive ideas about how people can protect our vital natural resources.  Good to know, right?

The PAG team made producing this Guide a team effort. They solicited  input from key environmental workers and educators in the region.  In other words, they asked experts to invest in the process.

What’s in the Guide? There’s a Tucson Regional Watershed Map which explains the significance of the water destinations within the Tucson area watershed. Photographs edging the map help the user understand arid region water-related terminology and highlight key environmental sites.  Users will clearly understand  the value of  protecting our desert washes and other riparian areas by keeping them free of trash and pollutants.

The Watershed Map is original and impactful in the following ways:

  • Original artwork explains rainwater harvesting principles, a practice that is gaining momentum and is now used in numerous public and private projects.
  • The pocket guide builds depth of understanding and encourages involvement, so that all of us can become active stewards of our region’s exceptional water and natural resources.
  • The Watershed Map is innovative because it defines our water courses in terms of their value to the habitat and watchable wildlife and encourages local ecotourism, which is an ever-growing contributor to our region’s economic vitality.
  • The unique 3D birds-eye view of the watershed orients the viewer’s perspective to coincide with the flow direction, which emphasizes the interconnected nature and environmental significance of water as it flows from the mountains through the basin.
  • Since dispersed pollutants are a leading concern in storm water pollution, creating a healthy environment depends on each household and business doing its part to reduce contaminants.

Another great green idea? Multiple applications. The Tucson Regional Watershed Map is both a teaching tool and a tourism/awareness piece that is equally useful for classroom displays or as a guide for outdoor and nature enthusiasts.

Early indications show high interest. Over 1,000 copies have already been distributed to local libraries and outreach events. And, of course, you can download it here.

The Watershed Pocket Guide is key to “Clean Water Starts with Me” multi-media outreach efforts. This 8-year campaign effectively addresses regional stormwater issues within the shared watershed through action and education.

A few little “calls to action:” Don’t forget to scoop up dog poop, fix leaky vehicles, and consider  harvesting rainwater.  YOU do make a difference.

For more information, visit Clean Water Starts with Me or on Facebook.

Want to hear more? Listen to the 30 minute, commercial free podcast so you can really understand why clean water really does start with you and me…http://mgwwebhost.wpengine.com/2013/08/15/clean-water-starts-with-me-and-you/