This weekend and upcoming weekends are going to provide a big boost to clean water in the Chattanooga area. Groups were out all over the area undertaking positive actions to care for our local streams and river. These included Signal Mountain Middle School 8th Grade Class, Wild Trails, Our House Studios and Mountain Creek Church of Christ.
Another big day is planned Dec. 7 as part of REI’s new Opt to Act program. All of these actions are part of WaterWays push to include more of our community in taking action to protect and restore our waterways.
WaterWays is just launching their Adopt a WaterWay program in conjunction with the City of Chattanooga and Hamilton County Water Quality programs. Everyone can get involved. How does it work? Contact WaterWays (mywaterways.org) and sign up to adopt a section of stream in the area and with that you agree to undertake at least one stewardship project per year for your section of stream. They will provide a nifty sign for you to indicate you care for this part of the stream.
Last weekend, both Wild Trails and Our House Studios undertook clean ups on their sections of stream. Wild Trails has adopted Chattanooga Creek from Broad Street downstream to the river. Their 12 volunteers, mostly on paddle boards and canoes, pulled about 40 tires and 75 bags of trash, plus some larger items, from the creek.
Randy Whorton, executive director of Wild Trails, said that he cannot understand why homeowners seem to be dumping their bags of household waste in the creek, but we really ought to help the growing homeless community on the creek deal with their trash and other waste.
Christy Chapman, owner of Our House Studios, led a group on South Chickamauga Creek upstream of Graysville, Ga. She said it was a really fun day, even though they pulled 15 bags of trash from the creek banks and under the bridge, and the 10 folks were happy to help take care of their creek.
Red Bank High School Interact Club and Red Bank Elementary Stream Team have also adopted their sections of Mountain Creek and have already been out keeping those areas clean.
Saturday was a huge day of stewardship for Mountain Creek Church of Christ. About 20 church members and youth group members from the church joined with another 20 staff and volunteers of WaterWays to lay out and plant a huge bioswale for their church. The background? They own about 15 acres of land and at least 3,000 feet of stream bank is on their property. Every time it rains, the stormwater runoff from neighboring areas floods their front lawn and flows around their hillside toward the creek. The creek also is severely eroding the land. WaterWays worked with landscape architect Shannon “Miko” Mikus to design a bioswale to infiltrate that runoff water and better protect the creek at the same time. The church elders agreed it was a good idea and Saturday everyone worked together all day to get most of the plants in the ground. The church’s crew is finishing the planting this week. This work is partially funded by a grant from the Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative administered by TDEC.
WaterWays' mission is to empower young people and communities to protect and restore their water where they live, work and play. Mary Beth Sutton, executive director of WaterWays, said, “ I am thrilled with all the actions that focused on protecting our water this weekend. I hope others will take notice of the great work these groups are doing and join forces with them and adopt a section of a stream as well. Mountain Creek Church of Christ showed by their actions they are stewards of the earth. I am so impressed with this church.“
REI is hosting an Opt to Act Cleanup day Dec. 7. All of these folks agree through their actions that our water is important. What will you do to protect your water?