Measure 1a:  Establish a public education and
 outreach program

“Develop a public education program and implement within 12 months of the permit issue date. Incorporate outreach elements for significant minority and disadvantaged communities.”

The public education and outreach program that you develop does not have to be long or complicated. You will meet the requirements of this BMP if you select the stormwater education topics you will cover and the target audiences, approaches and timetables for each one. If you fill in the Public Education and Outreach Program Chart, you will have met the requirements for this BMP.

Here is some advice for filling in the chart. Your public education program will be most successful if you lay the foundation for your citizens to understand why water quality is important and how stormwater affects water quality. When you link to the chart, you will see that it already includes these two Foundation Issues:

 Pollute Your Water, Pollute Yourself and The Storm Drain is for Rain

The goal of the Pollute Your Water, Pollute Yourself topic is to help citizens make the connection between water quality and quality of life. You can highlight the unique water resources of your jurisdiction – these could include your drinking water sources (whether it’s surface or groundwater), beautiful streams, lakes or coastlines, fishing, boating or swimming opportunities. Let your citizens know that they each have responsibility for maintaining these resources that they all enjoy.

The goal of the Storm Drain is for Rain topic is to teach your citizens that the rainwater that runs off of their roofs, lawns, driveways, streets and business goes directly to streams, not to the wastewater treatment plant. If your citizens do not understand the direct connection between their activities and local water quality, it will be difficult to motivate them to take action to improve it. As part of this topic, teach your citizens they must NEVER dump chemicals, yard waste or garbage into a storm drain and let them know how to report it if they see an incident of storm drain dumping.

The other stormwater education topics are the “Action Issues.” They are called Action Issues because you are appealing to your citizens to take actions that will result in cleaner local water quality. You should choose the Action Issues specifically for your jurisdiction. Here are the Action Issues that are covered in this web site:

HOW MANY ACTION ISSUES SHOULD YOU PICK? We suggest that you pick between three and five Action Issues. It is better to pick a few and do a great job than spread yourself too thin! Your limited resources will go farther if you focus your efforts.

HOW SHOULD YOU PICK THE ACTION ISSUES? You should consider each issue’s relevance and impacts on water quality in your jurisdiction as well as the observations of your staff and predicted citizen response. Please see the Selecting the Action Issues Questionnaire for more detailed guidance.

WHEN SHOULD YOU COVER EACH ISSUE? The two Foundation Issues should be delivered to your citizens throughout the entire education program. For the Action Issues, check out the links to the ones you select. They will give you ideas about the approach, audience and timing for each issue (information you need to fill out the Public Outreach and Education Program Chart). There is no one right or wrong way to time the Action Issues. You might choose to focus on a different one for each year of your permit cycle. Or you could cover the issues seasonally, for example, Lawn and Gardening every spring, Litter in the summer and Stream Buffers in the fall (a good time to plant trees).