Lazy ways to protect rivers and wildlife without breaking a sweat

We’re not saying you’re lazy. But how awesome would it be if you could protect our rivers, bays and water-loving critters in-between handfuls of popcorn and reaching for the controller to remind Netflix that yes, I am still watching, and so what?

Hold on to those couch cushions, because it can really be that easy.

How to help Guadalupe Bass from your couch

1. Let your inner river rat shine – a new river-themed license plate is right at your fingertips.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has teamed up with TxDMV to offer snazzy new plates for your river-bound ride. Buy a plate with a leaping largemouth bass to help slow the spread of invasive zebra mussels, or opt for a river design to benefit the Conserving Texas Rivers Initiative.

2.  Go on a virtual shopping spree (BYOPizza).

New clothes and gear that you get to pat yourself on the back for buying? Yes please. United By Blue isn’t just a stylish apparel brand coveted by outdoors enthusiasts – it’s also a cause-driven business that promises to remove a pound of trash from our oceans and other waterways for every product sold. Say hello to all of the feel-good vibes with none of the stomping through mud to retrieve empty beer bottles (unless that’s your thing). Bass all over the world will thank you.


How to help turtles from your backyard hammock

3.  Be the brown house on the block.

Lazy lawn owners, rejoice – we’re giving you permission to forget to water your lawn during the hot summer months. If your neighbors raise their eyebrows, just tell them you’re doing it for the greater good. It’s actually true! Outdoor irrigation is the biggest residential water guzzler for the average family, and without strategic watering schedules, a big chunk of that water could be lost to evaporation under the sizzling summer sun. It’s much easier (and more environmentally friendly) to embrace the brown.

4.  Let the wild things grow.

Press the “chill” button on lawn micro-management and let your trees and bushes grow as big as possible (within safe margins, of course). This approach makes sense on so many levels. Letting your plants stretch their arms without constant pruning is a great way to create a more natural ecosystem and attract wildlife right to your backyard. Plus, as these plants grow, they create more shade. More shade means the plants need less water to stay happy and perky, which means there’s more water in the rivers for our beloved turtle friends. Think about all the books that can be read, and all the drinks that can be lazily sipped, in the time it would take to clip back the plants!

Bonus: without too much effort, you could be well on your way to a certifiable Backyard Habitat.


How to help whooping cranes while putzing around the house

5.  Reduce, reuse, recycle: action verbs with minimal effort required.

A juvenile whooping crane. Photo: Ryan Hagerty/USFWS

Here’s a cool twist on that grade school slogan that taught you about recycling – it applies to residential water use, too.

Reusing water multiple times around the house is easy, and it’s a great way to conserve water. Making pasta? Drain it over a bowl and then water the plants with that extra water. Waiting for water to heat up before you jump in the shower? Stick a small bucket under the spicket to catch the water while it warms, and then use that bucket to fill up your pet’s water dish. While you’re at it, don’t forget to congratulate yourself for being so dang thrifty and for saving water for the whooping cranes.

6.  Be honest: is that shirt really dirty?

Let the sniff test be your guide. This may sound like the ultimate lazy person’s justification for forgoing laundry, but it’s actually a water-savvy way to conserve. Fewer loads of laundry mean more water running through our creeks and rivers, down to the marshes and estuaries where whooping cranes stop to rest and feed on their migrations.


How to help river otters while you’re out and about

7.  Pass on the extra refill.

Who says you’re too lazy to leave the house? The next time you go out to eat, don’t let your waiter fill up your water glass while you’re waiting for the check (unless you’re still thirsty!). Those “no thank yous” add up to more water in the rivers for otters to frolic in.

8.  Grab a cold one.

Impress your friends with your craft brewery knowledge when you order one of these hops from a brewery that has signed on with Brewers for Clean Water. These brewers have pledged to join NRDC to fight for the Clean Water Act, which helps river otters across the country by protecting their upstream water sources from overuse or pollution.


texas living waters

The Texas Living Waters Project is transforming the way we manage water so there will be enough for our wildlife, our economy, and our kids. Forever.


During the 2023 legislative session, the Texas Living Waters team worked hard to shape the passage of Senate Bill 28. This bill created the Texas Water Fund and the New […]