Eastgate program aims to improve water quality

Te Eastgate program aims to improve the water quality of the lakes at Mill Creek Park

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – After Mill Creek Park Executive Director Aaron Young said the water pollution that killed fish and other wildlife at Lake Newport was actually a problem with the watershed that feeds it, people started asking how they can help improve the area’s watersheds.

There is no public campaign at this time, but Stephanie Dyer from the Eastgate Council of Governments said there are ways the public can help protect the ecosystem.

Eastgate has an Alliance for Watershed Action and Resource Education, also known as AWARE, which was formed in 1999. It is made up of partnering agencies throughout Mahoning County along with state and federal agencies and private citizens that all share a common goal to improve the region’s water sources.

“If you have a leaky car, get it fixed if you can so the oil or whatever chemicals from the car does not get into the storm drain system,” Dyer said. “We look at putting in grassed buffer strips, whether you are in the agricultural side or you are a homeowner with your back yard up against a stream.”

Keeping cattle out of the stream also is a good idea.

“That prevents bacteria, additional bacteria, from getting into the water, that in time, when we have heavy rain events, gets into the water, travels downstream in a matter of hours to our local lakes and so forth,” Dyer said.

A few park goers at Mill Creek Park said they are taking steps to better the environment in their own neighborhood.

“Anything all natural, I am more of the organic type of person. I try not to use pesticides on the lawn or anything else like that. I try to go as natural as I can,” Christine Sioukiouroglou of Canfield said.

Kyriakos Theophanous of Boardman said he uses environmentally friendly products on his home garden.

“I try to keep it all natural. I don’t like to do the chemicals, insecticides, all that stuff. Same with lawn care. So keep it natural,” he said.

And one park visitor said he will think about changing his routine regarding the landscape.

“As far as chemicals, it is not something we have paid that much attention to. But something we may consider doing in the future,” Prebhab Patil of Boardman said.

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