Volunteers working towards clean creeks
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.