DRC’s Dundalk Green Team seeking volunteers
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 09:27

Group to focus on Bear Creek watershed

by Nicole Rodman

    Upon taking her post as the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation’s (DRC) Volunteer Maryland Coordinator last fall, Jacqueline Murray made it her mission to help restore watershed health in the Dundalk area.
    To that end, Murray is now spearheading a new DRC effort known as the Dundalk Green Team.
    Open to anyone who is interested, the Green Team will focus on activities designed to restore the health of the Bear Creek Watershed.

    The Bear Creek Watershed feeds into the larger Baltimore Harbor Watershed system and into the Chesapeake Bay.
    Therefore, it is important not only locally, but for the entire region, that the Bear Creek Watershed be clean and in good health.
    With years of pollution from industry such as the Sparrows Point steel mill, being dumped into Bear Creek and other local waterways, the health of the watershed was critically poor.
    As local environmental activist Russell Donnelly told The Eagle last July, by the 1970s, pollution had gotten so bad that there was “nothing alive in the waters of Bear Creek, North Point Creek or Jones Creek.”
    Today, thanks to efforts such as Baltimore County’s Small Watershed Action Plan (SWAP), the health of the watershed has improved, though there is still a long way to go.
    Baltimore County’s SWAP program, introduced to area residents last spring, seeks to clean local waterways and sustain local wildlife populations.
    Seeing the need for a clean and healthy watershed in Dundalk, and across the area, Murray decided to spearhead the Dundalk Green Team.
    According to Murray, the group will hold monthly meetings to create plans for restoring the Bear Creek Watershed.
    The Dundalk Green Team’s first meeting will be held at the Hard Yacht Cafe, 8500 Cove Road, on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m.
    The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the health of Bear Creek and ways community members can help.
    “Whatever your strengths and interest, we know your value. We’ve got a good start on green things, but ‘many hands make light work’,” Murray explained in an e-mail to The Eagle last week.
    She continued, “Think about what we could do together as a community.  The task is too big for a trio. Volunteers will be the hero!”
    As Murray pointed out, there will be tasks for each member of the Green Team, regardless of age or experience level.
    Potential activities involve water quality monitoring, in which citizens are trained to test local waters around Bear Creek, and storm drain stenciling.
    According to Murray, storm drain stenciling involves marking storm drains to let people know that any litter they toss down can end up in the bay.
    “This simple outdoor activity is fun for anyone,” Murray explained, adding, “With stencils and spray-paints, volunteers will walk a block painting a lasting sign.  To mark stormdrains reminds passerby’s that we want only rain down the drain.”
    Those interested in storm drain stenciling can call the DRC at (410) 282-0261 or visit the office at 11 Center Place.
    Other Green Team activities will include Bear Creek Garden Geeks, a group dedicated to eco-friendly gardening, and the Forever Green Clean Team.
    The Clean Team will travel the area cleaning up litter before it reaches local waterways.
    Service hours for students and adults are available.
    In the meantime, Murray has spoken to a number of local community organizations seeking support and urging residents to join the Dundalk Green Team.
    “Joining the Green Team offers a great way to meet new people who also care about improving the quality of life in Dundalk through watershed restoration programs,” Murray explained.
    She added, “If we work together as a community we really can bring good health back to Bear Creek where aquatic life will flourish again.”
    For more information on the Dundalk Green Team, contact the DRC at 410-282-0261 or visit the Web at www.dundalkusa.org.