Phinnious J. Greene, the water loving frog, is heading to the beach! Phinnious lives in a small stream that connects with the river, which empties into the ocean right near his favorite beach. Join Phinnious as he follows the river to the beach and see what he encounters on his way!
Phinnious is ready to get hoppin’! He leaves his crystal clear stream and hops his way downstream where he comes across a nursery growing lots of plants. He decides to stop and smell the roses and quickly realizes that the place is very busy! Men and women are working hard harvesting and pruning the plants, but Phinnious sees that some of the clippings are being tossed too close to the stream! Some debris is even ending up in the stream. He also sees workers using chemicals, such as pesticides and fertilizer, on many of the plants and notices water from the irrigation slowly trickling into the stream.
Phinnious knows that, while these tasks are important for any nursery operation, they can be done more efficiently and in a way that does not harm his home! Any debris from the plants should be placed in bins or composting piles far enough away from the water so that it does not end up in the stream. Chemicals should be used sparingly, especially around water, because many of them are harmful to plants, animals, and even people! Runoff from irrigation should not be entering the stream because it picks up all sorts of contaminants from the ground’s surface! In fact, the nursery should probably adjust their irrigation schedule to save water and reduce runoff.
A few more hops downstream and Phinnious sees a very friendly horse grazing along the streambank. He sees the horse head for the stream to get a cool drink of water. Phinnious is worried that the horse might drink water contaminated with chemicals from the nursery since it is flowing downstream. He sees the horse step along the edge of the bank and the soil erodes away and lands in the stream. Phinnious also notices that there is manure close to the water. When it rains, the nutrients from the manure can end up in the water and promote algae growth. The horse’s owner should fence off the stream and ensure the horse has another source of clean drinking water so the streambank stays stable. Manure should also be picked up regularly and properly disposed of or composted.
With a sigh, Phinnious continues hopping downstream. After a while, he notices the water is becoming very cloudy and sees a bulldozer pushing soil towards the stream. Phinnious is shocked! Extra soil and sediment should not be entering the stream. When the water becomes cloudy, it is said to have a high turbidity. Water with high turbidity can be unsafe for people and animals to ingest, can have high levels of bacteria, and can also block out sunlight that is essential for aquatic plants and animals.
Since Phinnious cannot get the attention of the bulldozer driver, he decides to keep heading towards the beach. The crystal clear stream he left just a short while ago is now joining the large river and is no longer as clean as it was at the beginning of his journey. There are less fish swimming and the water is cloudy, with plant clippings floating on top. Phinnious is determined to get to the beach, but he needs to cross the bridge into town. While waiting at the crosswalk, Phinnious sees a man in a car throw his trash out the window! The wind blows the paper cup into the river and it floats downstream, towards the beach.
As soon as it is clear, Phinnious hops across the bridge and makes his way in to town where people are busy working and playing in their yards. He comes across one home with a bag of lawn fertilizer tipped over in the yard. At another home, someone is washing a car. The hose is running and water is flowing down the driveway and into the street, carrying soapy bubbles with it. Phinnious shakes his head because he knows that, just like the nursery, the fertilizer and chemicals can end up in the water where it does not belong. In town, stormdrains carry excess water to rivers, lakes, and oceans. The water flows directly there and is not treated at the water plant first. That means, anything that goes in to the stormdrain eventually makes its way to the beach!
Phinnious sees a large truck pass him. He is curious so he follows the truck to a house down the street. The truck is there to empty the home’s septic tank. Phinnious sees a green patch of grass in the home’s yard and he overhears the truck’s driver telling the homeowner that his septic system has failed. He goes on to explain the importance of proper septic system maintenance. When a septic system fails it not only costs a lot of money to repair, but it can also impair water quality. Phinnious listens to the man explain the different parts of the septic system and then hops of towards the beach once again
Phinnious is almost to the beach! He can see it glistening just over the hill. He hops through the park where people are playing and walking their dogs. Phinnious knows that surely people must be picking up after their pets because pet waste has harmful bacteria and nutrients in it. If it gets in the water, it can make it unsafe, and nobody wants an unsafe beach!
Finally Phinnious has arrived to the beach, although, it isn’t quite as he remembered it. The water is cloudy and there is trash and debris floating around. He notices the cup he saw the man throw out of his car and the clippings from the nursery. The water is not clear and is full of sediment. Phinnious is sad and wishes everyone upstream did their part to keep the beaches clean! Remember, water flows downstream and whatever goes in will eventually end up at our beaches. Let’s keep our water clean for everyone to enjoy!