Winter is here once again and with that, a lot of ice and SALT. When using salt and other de-icers, we want to keep in mind we’re in a watershed and everything we do on our land can end up in our Rouge River. Follow these FRIENDly tips to be a water steward this and every winter!
How Do De-icers Affect the River?
- De-icing salt doesn’t just stay on our driveways! As the snow and ice melts, that salty water flows to the nearest creek, stream, and eventually into our Rouge River.
- All along the way, that salty water harms the life in our ecosystem, especially in our waterways. It hurts or kills the bugs in the water and the fish that eat the bugs. These are not salt-water fish!
- “Pet-friendly” de-icing products harm our waterways, too!
What Can YOU Do?
- We know we have to use some de-icers to keep our roadways safe to drive. But any time we can REDUCE THE USE of salt, we’re helping to keep our waterways healthy too!
- Remove the snow before it forms ice
- Sprinkle inexpensive clay kitty litter instead of salt for traction
- Spray or sprinkle lightly from a watering can: a mixture of half vinegar, half water to melt the ice
- If you do use de-icers, sweep up the excess to keep it out of our river!
- For a deeper dive into the subject, check out the following links:
- Road Salt and Eco-Friendly Alternatives With Sally Petrella from Friends of the Rouge!
- “In 2013, an estimated 14 million tons of salt were used for deicing roads in North America.” Salinisation of rivers: an urgent ecological issue
- Low-Cost Homemade De-Icer- It’s easy and works! Start at 1:12 for the recipe, then go to 7:58 for the results (We at Friends of the Rouge haven’t tested this yet- If you do, let us know how it works for you!)
- ASK US ANYTHING – What alternatives for road salt are being tested? The future of de-icing for municipalities, departments of transportation, and others?