Under natural conditions, most rainfall soaks in where it falls and is naturally filtered by plants and soil. Urbanization has led to an increase in impervious surfaces—hard, paved surfaces that water can’t soak through. Rainfall runs quickly across these impervious surfaces and into nearby streams or storm drains. Along the way, the rainfall, now considered runoff, picks up and carries whatever pollutants it encounters, such as lawn chemicals. There are many simple steps you can take to reduce the amount of water that runs off your property, as well as the amount of pollution it carries. Even if you don’t think you live near water, a storm drain might channel your runoff quickly to a stream. Many of the practices listed below use soil and native plants to naturally absorb and filter runoff. Refer to the Choose the Right Plant for the Right Place section of this website for more information about native plants.