PDENG_D_Yellow Fish Road - Town of Ajax

Stormwater Initiatives: What is Yellow Fish Road?

Yellow Fish Road is a nation-wide environmental education program designed and managed by Trout Unlimited Canada. The Yellow Fish Road program's goal is to help Canadians understand that stormdrains are the doorways to our rivers, lakes and streams. Preventing pollutants from entering our stormdrains is critical to protecting and improving water quality and aquatic habitat.

The Town of Ajax and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority have sponsored the Yellow Fish Road Program to schools in Ajax. The Yellow Fish Road program, offered to Grades 3 - 8, educates students and the public about the impacts of pollution entering urban storm drains. In most cities, water entering storm drains goes directly into local rivers, streams and lakes untreated. Storm drain pollution can harm fish and wildlife, as well as reduce water quality for human use.

Yellow Fish Road volunteers paint "yellow fish" beside storm drains and distribute fish-shaped brochures to nearby households. These activities remind people to properly use and safely dispose of hazardous household chemicals, rather than allowing these to enter curbside drains.

Why the Yellow Fish Road?

In most municipalities, storm drains flow directly into the local waterbody without being treated. Almost anything other than clean rainwater is harmful to fish and other aquatic life. This includes soap used to wash your family car (that is not biodegradable), excess fertilizer on the lawn that washes into the storm drain, dirt and oil from your driveway, and construction materials. These materials have an impact on all aquatic life, including plants, insects, fish and animals, as well as the humans that depend on the local waterbody.

What is a Drain?

Storm drains are the grates found on the street by the curb. Runoff and rain water drain into these grates, go through a network of underground tunnels, and usually ends up in the local water body.  The water that goes down a storm drain is usually not treated to remove pollutants before it reaches the local waterbody.

Often, people simply do not realize that storm drains do not go to the sewage treatment plant, or that simple activities, such as allowing soapy water to enter the drains, can be harmful to aquatic life.  People may also be unaware of alternatives, such as pouring soapy water down their own household drains (which are treated at the sewage treatment plant before entering the river) or using biodegradable cleaning products

For more information see Trout Unlimited Canada's Yellow Fish Road Program.