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Lawns and the New Watershed Law

31 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2012  

Asmara M. Tekle

Texas Southern University - Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Date Written: January 10, 2012


American's long love affair with the evergreen, crew-cut, weed and pest free "Industrial" front lawn has resulted in untold costs on some of the nation's most cherished waterways, including Puget Sound, the Great Lakes, and the Chesapeake Bay. While this Article examines the legal regimes, primarily public law and neighborhood or community norms, that arguably have helped to "brown" the front lawn and make it environmentally unsustainable, it also argues that law can be a force to "green" it. By virtue of its effects on the watershed and marine ecosystems, the front lawn links water and land. This Article ultimately suggests that localities consider the front lawn’s effects on marine ecosystems and water management as a starting point for crafting land use law and policy. Arguably, therefore, land use law governing the front lawn has become part of the new watershed law.

Keywords: lawn, waterway, land use, social norms

JEL Classification: K11, Q20, Q25, Q28, H70

Suggested Citation

Tekle, Asmara M., Lawns and the New Watershed Law (January 10, 2012). Marquette Law Review, Vol. 95, p. 213, 2011. Available at SSRN:

Asmara Tekle (Contact Author)

Texas Southern University - Thurgood Marshall School of Law ( email )

3100 Cleburne Street
Houston, TX 77004
United States

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