We are fortunate to live near the Great Lakes, which is the largest group of fresh water lakes on the planet and represent 84% of North America’s surface freshwater. Urban runoff is threatening these bodies of freshwater and public awareness needs to be present and heightened. Urban runoff pollution comes from neighborhood streets, ditches, storm sewers, construction sites and parking lots. This runoff contains pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers from landscaped lawns and gardens, improper disposal of used oil and engine fluids into open lid manholes and soil erosion from construction sites. Your support as residents of the community is essential to improve our water quality. Proper maintenance, responsible use of fertilizers and correct waste disposal are just a few solutions to keep our creeks and streams clean. We must to do our part together to improve the water quality of our creeks and streams so we may continue living in a healthy ecosystem. Our local ecosystem is the Salt Creek Tributary, which starts mostly in Palatine Township and covers approximately 150 square miles. This watershed eventually makes its way into the Des Plaines River, then into the Illinois River and eventually to the Mississippi River. The flooding in the Southern States first started in our backyards. If we want to protect the Mississippi estuary, we must start in our own back yard.