"See Your Feets
The Clear Creeks Project is a grant-funded, citizen-based initiative that helps answer a community desire to restore the water quality of the rivers and creeks throughout the Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder watersheds.
As Wilson Point resident Dan Doerfer explains, “My hope is that one day soon, I’ll be swimming with my grandchildren, and we’ll be able to see our feet below us. What if the water was that clear again? Working together, I believe we can make that happen.” Doerfer serves on the board of the Wilson Point Civic Community Association, one of numerous local organizations and citizen groups partnering with the project’s leading agency, the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy (GVC).
Through educational outreach and hands-on efforts, the GVC and its community partners will assist residents in creek clean-ups, tree plantings, and yard and garden practices all designed to proudly maintain the health and heritage of our treasured Chesapeake waterways.
Rain Barrel Beauty: Clear Creeks’ Inaugural Installation
Long-time resident of Wilson Point, Peggy Pierson recalls days in Middle River when clear creeks were as commonplace as home cooking. “When I first moved here, I could stand at the edge of the seawall, look over and watch a crab slough: grab it, bring it in, and fry it up for my husband.”
Today’s Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder creeks may not enjoy that same degree of water clarity, but residents throughout the watershed are still firmly committed to the beauty of their communities and the pride of their heritage. As Mrs. Pierson explains, “It’s heaven down here.”
And to keep it that way, residents are joining together, each doing his or her part in restoring the quality of the rivers and creeks that have brought them such joy for somany years. “A bride of 18,” Mrs. Pierson first moved to Wilson Point in 1949. Through the years, she raced and served on committees for sailboating: “I still sit on my deck and watch the sailboats race.” And right next door, where her in-laws once lived, is now the home of one of her three sons, Charles Sparwasser. Sparwasser was in attendance on May 21 at the installation of his mother’s rain barrel, the inaugural rain barrel installation for Clear Creeks: Our Water, Our Heritage, Our Pride.
And what a rain barrel it is. Custom painted by artist Andrea Huppert Soukup to match the colors of Mrs. Pierson’s house, the design pays homage to Pierson’s fondness for blue herons: “I watch blue herons walking up the pier every morning. I love them.” Mrs. Pierson was likewise pleased with Soukup’s graceful design and skillful rendering, “Perfect,” Pierson exclaimed, “It matches perfectly.”
Which may not be too surprising, considering that Soukup herself spent many happy hours as a girl out on the creeks in her Sunfish sailboat. Now a resident of Glen Arm, Soukup has numerous relatives living in the Middle River watershed as well as fond memories of her grandfather’s shore house in Middleborough. A favorite family game during those summer days, Soukup recollects, was to swim underwater “with your eyes wide open and grab each other by the ankles.”
Although no single rain barrel can bring back the pristine underwater views that Pierson and Soukup remember, rain barrels can and do play an integral role in controlling unfiltered stormwater runoff that causes stream erosion and water pollution. Clear Creeks Project Manager Peggy Perry explains that in combination with watershed restoration efforts across the region, rain barrels make “a big impact.” The Clear Creeks Project’s goal is to install sixty rain barrels throughout the Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder watersheds. With grant-funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, and Gunpowder Valley Conservancy, the Clear Creeks Project allows for free services and discounted installations of rain barrels and other Bay-friendly practices to Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder residents.
Mrs. Pierson intends to use the rainwater she collects in her personalized barrel to water her flowers. She summed up her newly installed Clear Creeks rain barrel with a sparkle in her smile, “I’ll be the talk of the neighborhood.”
We sure hope so. The more people talking about Mrs. Pierson’s community pride and Clear Creeks commitment, the more will follow her lead and help us all “see our feets” again in the treasured waters of Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder.
For information on all Clear Creeks installation and cost share offerings, see the “Bay Practices” and “Cost Share” tabs on this website and/or contact Clear Creeks Project Manager Peggy Perry of the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy at email@example.com.
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To learn more about the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy, visit us at www.gunpowderfalls.org
Visit our friends at the Cromwell Valley Park at www.cromwellvalleypark.org
See what's up on Jennifer Branch at www.jenniferbranch.org
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