When it comes to restoring clear creeks, “All it takes is one person to act with commitment for others to see the benefit and follow suit,” says Clear Creeks Project Manager Peggy Perry.
Clear Creeks: Our Water, Our Heritage, Our Pride is the community-based, grant-funded initiative to help restore water clarity to the creeks and rivers of the Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder watersheds. As the Project embarks on a second year, seven Middle River residents were honored with Clear Creeks Community Leadership Awards for their outstanding efforts in helping to promote water restoration practices in the Project’s pilot neighborhoods of Bowley’s Quarters, Hawthorne and Wilson Point.
Wilson Point resident Dan Doerfer was named “Clear Creeks Community Leader of the Year.” Environmental chairperson for the Wilson Point Civic Improvement Association, Doerfer contributed countless hours of service to all aspects of the Clear Creeks Project during its first year. He planted trees, cleaned creeks, attended meetings, coordinated workshops, wrote newsletter articles, sent event invitations, and made recruitment calls. He even helped install the Project’s first rain barrel at his neighbor’s waterfront home on Middle River.
“I imagine a day when you might be able to see a crab or fish swimming by just three or four feet below the surface and how wonderful it would be for area creeks and rivers to be that clear again. That idea inspires and motivates me,” Doerfer says.
Also recognized were Bowley’s Quarters residents Rich Pitz, Allen Robertson and Janet Walper; Hawthorne resident Doug Tomecek; and Wilson Point residents Bob Nevrly and Ernie Ritchey, who each received Clear Creeks Community Leadership Certificates for mobilizing their neighbors to attend various workshops and events.
Among their numerous efforts, Pitz organized a Clear Creeks rain barrel workshop at the Bowley’s Quarters Improvement Association; Robertson hosted a Clear Creeks edible landscape garden installation workshop at his home, prompting several neighbors to install gardens that help reduce storm water run-off on their own properties; and in her capacity as then president of the Bowley’s Quarters Community Association, Walper provided organizational assistance and community recruitment for the Project’s initial kickoff event at Marshy Point Nature Center in January of 2013.
A long-time organizer of annual Hawthorne waterway clean-ups, Tomecek officially adopted Cow Pen Creek as part of the Clear Creeks stream adoption program, recruiting some 200 volunteers for the 2013 spring and fall creek clean-ups. Nevrly and Ritchey hosted both a Clear Creeks rain garden installation workshop and a Bay Wise certification party in addition to becoming Clear Creeks Bay Wise Stewards, project ambassadors who educate their neighbors about Clear Creeks events and bay-friendly gardening practices.
Perry says, “All of these incredible community and resident leaders have helped to motivate and serve as examples to others to do their part in reducing polluted runoff to local creeks and the Bay.”
With ongoing grant funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, and the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy, Clear Creeks: Our Water, Our Heritage, Our Pride will expand its efforts into more Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder neighborhoods for the 2014 calendar year, continuing to inform residents about steps they can take to reduce the amount of dirt and unwanted debris washing into local waterways.
For a full calendar of Clear Creeks events for 2014, visit the Project website at www.clearcreeks.org or contact Christine Potts at email@example.com.