Not only is the amount of lawn increasing by 2.1 million acres every year, but in the US, the EPA reports that 70 million pounds of herbicides & pesticides are used on our lawns each year.
The ugly reality: your backyard turfgrass may be laced with a toxic cocktail of chemicals that are deadly. Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides 16 are toxic to birds, 24 are toxic to fish and aquatic organisms, and 11 are deadly to bees; some fungicides and pesticides can kill 60 to 90% of the earthworms where they are applied.
In addition, the EPA reports that the run-off from lawn care products into our fresh water includes carcinogens, hormonal disruptors, and neurotoxins, and that there are no federal regulations for these products.
Over 35,000 acres of wildlife habitat are lost each year to housing and other development in the state of Washington. It is well understood that the main direct threats to biodiversity are habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, pollution and pesticides, global climate change and unsustainable use. In an effort to offset this loss of urban flora and fauna, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has instituted the Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Program.
Yardmap, by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is a Citizen Science project that offers homeowners a chance to share habitat information with scientists and other concerned citizens. By creating a yardmap, you connect with gardeners and birders from around the country. In addition, yardmap is rich with resources on how to improve your backyard habitat and also allows you to compare your backyard with the average American yard.
Visit yardmap to find out what you can do to make your backyard, patio, or garden boxes a safe haven for the birds and beasts of your neighborhood!
"If the whole US was one big yard, it might look like this." yardmap
Geume's Island of Skagit, Washington was recently one of yardmap's featured sites. A beautiful yard! Congratulations to you Salal Sal~