TOP TEN WAYS TO BE BLUE (Conservation with water in mind!)

1. Plant native plants.
Homeowners can save up to 100,000 gallons of water a year by planting grasses, trees, shrubs, and flowers that are native to their area and don't require more water than the average rainfall. More information is available through the National Wildlife Federation's Backyard Wildlife Habitat program. This can also eliminate the need for pesticides and fertilizers that are harmful to aquatic wildlife.

2. Shower smart.
A low flow showerhead can conserve up to 20,000 gallons of water a year for a family of four.

3. Turn off the water.
You can conserve water by turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth or washing dishes. You can also take shorter showers. Try washing dishes with water in the sink, instead of letting the water run.

4. Use the fridge, not the faucet.
Have you ever run the water in the faucet until it got cold? Why not fill a pitcher of water and store it in the refrigerator? This provides cold water anytime without sending a lot of water down the drain.

5. Dump No Waste! Drains to River!
Or to lake, or to sea, or to ocean! Many of the storm sewers we have in our neighborhoods drain directly to a local water source. Never dump anything in these storm sewers, as paint, oil, and other household materials will end up in the aquatic habitats and harm the plants and animals that live there.

6. Choose smart seafood.
Many of the world's fisheries (groups of fish) are endangered. Choose to buy and consume only fish that are harvested sustainably. Some fish, like swordfish and shark are being caught faster than they can reproduce. Some fisheries accidentally catch sea turtles, dolphins, sharks and other animals along with the fish they intend to catch. Buy seafood recommended by the Monterey Bay Aquarium or other conservation organizations. To learn more, log onto www.montereybayaquarium.org

7. Pick up litter.
Some garbage is dangerous to wildlife. Ordinary trash--such as discarded fishing line, plastic bags, and balloons--can choke or entangle marine animals. Pick up your trash and save a life!

8. Use fertilizer and pesticides cautiously.
Runoff from lawn fertilizers can be damaging to rivers, lakes, and oceans, and the animals and plants that live in those habitats. Make wise choices about your yard. Think of the earth first.

9. Save energy.
Believe it or not, driving less and turning down the heat may help protect marine life. Rising global temperatures, which scientists attribute in part to fossil fuel burning, have had a devastating effect on many marine species in recent years. Higher sea temperatures have spurred massive die-offs of coral reefs. So be part of something cool: save energy!

10. Learn more.
Almost every day scientists and zoologist learn more about oceans and the animals that live in them. By educating yourself about the animals and plants that share the planet, you will be able to make informed decisions about protecting them into the future.