Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Keeping tabs

Each month we record data regarding a stream near our house as a part of the Water Action Volunteers
program with UW Extension. We chose a stream that winds through the city. Each month we see first-hand evidence that the way people live along the stream route directly affects its quality. The number one problem is that people fertilize their lawn and let grass clippings wash into the street and into storm drains. Some people even use a hose to wash those clippings down their driveway. The increased organic content and the addition of fertilizer cause a severe imbalance in the oxygen content of the water and have created a near-dead stream. This is an issue Scott works on a lot at work. At a conference recently he learned that the only thing that makes people change their minds or sit up and take notice of their waterways is to see folks actively engaged in working with the waterways i.e. stream monitoring, bank landscaping, storm drain stenciling etc.

Measuring width or stream and depth at 20 points across the stream.

Checking dissolved oxygen. Too much oxygen is just as bad as not enough. This month's measurement was off the charts--almost uninhabitable.

Watching a leech we carried home with us.

If we don't engage each other in discussions of how we use our surroundings, we will lose them. Keeping tabs means finding out information, talking to neighbors, making informed decisions and taking small actions.

Margaret Mead was right, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I so love that Incredible Evie does this.
When we saw the dwr people a couple of weeks ago on our big adventure, I was thinking of Evie and her stream reports. :)

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