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Keywords:

  • residential yard care practices;
  • urban water management;
  • water quality;
  • water conservation;
  • environmental values;
  • urban pollution

ABSTRACT: The Tualatin is the first watershed in Oregon to implement the Total Maximum Daily Load provisions of the Clean Water Act to deal with nonpoint source pollution. Local officials cite residential yard care practices as potential contributors to nonpoint source pollution in the basin. Qualitative and quantitative methods, including observation of yard maintenance styles, suggest behaviors potentially harmful to water quality and conservation. Yard maintenance is influenced by the importance of neighborhood appearance and concern for aesthetics. These concerns stimulate residents to water, fertilize, and apply weed control at more frequent intervals than yard care experts recommend. Better understanding of the effects that relations with neighbors and yard maintenance knowledge have on residential yard care practices can help improve water quality.