- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 9, 2016

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Parks and recreation officials in Fort Dodge are trying to educate the public about the harm caused by improperly disposing of leaves, grass clippings and other organic materials.

The so-called green dumping can cause problems for the city and the environment because piling leaves or grass on a hillside thicker than what would naturally occur can kill the plants in those areas, said Lori Branderhorst, director of the Fort Dodge Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.

“There’s a lot of erosion and sloughing that happens when they’re piled on slopes,” she said. “What happens is if you go and put a mound of grass on your hillside, or put it in your yard, and go and lift that up? What happens to the ground underneath it? It’s dead. Living things can’t grow underneath there.”

Leaves and debris decaying in the street or in a sewer can also clog storm drains. That can lead to lawn chemicals getting into waterways and harming wildlife.

“We think, ‘Oh, it’s a forest, it’s a park. It’s natural. It’s not garbage,’” Branderhorst said. “But there really are consequences on our hillsides and in our forests.”

It’s also illegal to dispose yard waste on streets, in ditches or parks, or in any public right of way. Violations can be punished by a ticket, The Messenger newspaper reported (https://bit.ly/2ff7myT ).

Fort Dodge residents can place yard waste into large paper bags that have a purchased sticker, and have them picked up every Friday like garbage or recycling. Residents can also drive their yard waste to the city’s disposal facility until Dec. 1, when it closes for the season.


Information from: The Messenger, https://www.messengernews.net

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