Make a Difference at Home

Actions ripple through a watershed

Did you know your actions and choices can be felt far away when combined with others in your watershed?

We all live in a watershed – In Tippecanoe County, we all live in the Wabash River watershed.  Actually, we all live in many differently sized and scaled watersheds.  A watershed is all the land that drains to a specific common point or water body.  The area of land that drains into the Wabash River includes the majority of Indiana, about half of Illinois, and a small part of Ohio.  You may also live in the watershed that drains to your local storm drain or to Wildcat Creek or Burnett Creek.  These smaller streams and drainage ditches eventually drain into the Wabash.  The Wabash flows to the Ohio River, the Ohio empties into the Mississippi River, which then dumps into the Gulf of Mexico.  Pollution such as sediment and fertilizer entering our local drains and waterways, impacting the health of the Wabash which in turn impacts the ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico.  

Every drop of water falling on your property can impact the Wabash River

Runoff occurs whenever precipitation falls on your property.  When this water hits hard surfaces, like your roof, driveway, city streets, or parking lots, these hard surfaces prevent water from soaking into the ground.  Rain water travels across the surface picking up materials like sediment, trash, pesticides, and nutrients.  As it moves toward the Wabash River, this water continues to gather pollutants.  Every step you take to reduce the amount of water moving across hard surfaces and encourage water to enter into the ground water system helps the Wabash River.

The average residence in Greater Lafayette contributes 975,000 gallons of runoff to the Wabash River annually.  This equals 1.5 Olympic size swimming pools!

By installing rain gardens, rain barrels, trees, native plants, and other stormwater infrastructure, you are part of a community focused on taking many small steps to make big, positive impacts on the Wabash River.  

Below is a list of resources for various projects you can do at your home, business, church, school, or other property to reduce stormwater runoff and improve water quality in the Wabash River.  Purdue Extension is also a great resource for rain-scaping information.


Drainage Area


Rain Garden Depth

Please enter either the Drainage Area's length and width or total area.
Approximate rain garden size to capture runoff from your drainage area

Go Green at Home

River-Friendly Projects

Rain Barrels

Rain barrels harvest rain water from your roof and downspouts.

Rain Garden
Rain gardens are shallow depressions in your yard that collect stormwater and allow it to soak into the ground.  
Bioswales are open, vegetated channels planted with grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees.
Pervious Pavement
Pavement that drinks water – concrete, asphalt, grid pavers, and modular block that allows water to move through the paved surface to the groundwater table below while still serving as a paved surface.
Native Plants
Native plants are those plants which originated in a particular area. For Greater Lafayette, native plants are ones that are adapted to the prairie/wetland/forest ecosystems which occurred within this region prior to settlement.
Native trees are those trees that originated in this region and are therefore adapted to conditions present in our community.
Green Roof
A green roof is a building roof partially or fully covered with vegetation planted in a growth medium over a waterproof membrane.