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We have had a vision of the future this summer and it is one with less water. It makes no sense to spray our drinking water on grass that is ecological dead space. I would suggest we consider the idea of reducing our lawn areas and look for a better, more sustainable way of dealing with the areas around our homes and parks.

There are an estimated 40 million to 50 million acres of lawn in the continental United States — that’s nearly as much as all of the country’s national parks combined. In 2020, Americans spent $105 billion keeping their lawns verdant and neat. But our grass addiction comes at an environmental cost.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, maintaining those lawns also consumes nearly 3 trillion gallons of water a year as well as 59 million pounds of pesticides, which can seep into our land and waterways. Department of Transportation data shows that in 2018, Americans used nearly 3 billion gallons of gasoline running lawn and garden equipment. That’s the equivalent of 6 million passenger cars running for a year. The Southern Nevada Water Authority just requested that the Nevada Legislature outlaw approximately 40% of the grass that nobody walks on in the Las Vegas area.

We may not be the middle of a desert but our city’s growth and limited water supply will require our rethinking of our grass areas into more natural spaces with low-maintenance plant choices for this. And pollinators will love you for it!

Brian Koukol

Bozeman

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