Volunteers work­ing to­wards clean creeks

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By: GIANNA DECARLO gde­carlo@ches­pub.com

On Saturday, April 1, groups of volunteers ven­tured into the Gun­pow­der wa­ter­shed to prove that un­pol­luted and healthy wa­ter was no joke.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the volunteers re­moved trash and pol­lu­tants from lo­cal streams, in­clud­ing the head- wa­ters of Mid­dle River and the Aero Acres park area, as part of the county-wide Clear Creeks pro­gram.

Be­gin­ning in 2013, over 10,000 volunteers have re­moved over 196 tons of trash from nearby wa­ter­ways that fun­nel di­rectly into the Bay. The ci­ti­zen-based ini­tia­tive

aims to re­store the wa­ter qual­ity of Mid­dle River, Tidal Gun­pow­der, and Bird River by mo­bi­liz­ing mem­bers of the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity. The aim is to have wa­ter so clean you can “see your feets in our creeks.”

Dan Do­er­fer, the vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor and Stream Cap­tain for the Mid­dle River sites, said that the clean-up pre­vents trash from en­ter­ing larger wa­ter­ways, like the In­ner Har­bor. When the de­bris is con­tained in smaller streams and trib­u­taries, it’s eas­ier to pick up, he said.

From the Aero Acres site, a fair amount of the col­lected trash in­cluded bot­tles, plas­tic bags, and sty­ro­foam cups. The sty­ro­foam is espe­cially prob­lem­atic since it isn’t biodegrad­able and in­stead breaks apart and floats to the top of the wa­ter where it can be eaten by wildlife. Do­er­fer points out how many of the pa­per bags and cups were from the nearby Chick-Fil-A and McDonald’s along Martin Blvd. Do­er­fer said that if res­i­dents saw where this trash was go- ing and how long it sticks around, they’d be more hes­i­tant to just throw it out their car win­dow.

The volunteers at last week­end’s clean-up con­sisted of res­i­dents, lo­cal stu­dents, and mem­bers of sev­eral com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“The Clear Creeks Project is about work­ing to­gether-creek by creek, yard by yard, neigh­bor­hood by neigh­bor­hood--all of us do­ing our small part to make a big im­pact,” reads the project’s mis­sion state­ment.

The clean-up project was spon­sored by the Al­liance for the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and is part of the Gun­pow­der Val­ley Con­ser­vancy’s Adopt A Creek Pro­gram in part­ner­ship with Bal­ti­more County Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion and Sus­tain­abil­ity. The pro­gram also of­fers other ser­vices, such a rain gar­den and rain bar­rel work­shops and tree plant­ings.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the GVC and Stream Watch, visit our web­site at www.gun­pow­der­falls.org . For more in­for­ma­tion about the lo­cal Clear Creeks Project visit the project web­site at www.clearcreeks.org.

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