Archive for October, 2010

FOX News Coverage about Local Rivers

Monday, October 25th, 2010

http://fortwaynehomepage.net/fulltext/?nxd_id=21324

Abigail – Clean Water Activist Speaks on City Action for Rivers…

Save Maumee’s 3rd Annual ~ Canoe Clean-Up, Can YOU Clean-Up? Update

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

3rd Annual Update to Save Maumee’s Canoe Clean Up, Can YOU Clean-Up?

~Underbelly of the St. Mary’s River Uncovered~

What an interesting day THANK YOU to all Save Maumee’s 60 energetic river workers! Police, a meth amphetamine lab, batteries, full fire extinguisher & spray paint, Kids Dart, Think Smart yard sign, a sink, metal car parts, a carpeted wooden box with incubator like dials attached, 2 wallets complete with driver’s licenses, full size dead cat, Pepsi can from the 1970’s, a Cookie Monster hat, thousands of cans/bottles/Styrofoam and cigarette butts, and of course plenty of tampons and fresh water jellyfish to finish the day. We also installed 40 square feet of erosion control mats to keep soil where it belongs.

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Many questions arose as to where all the fresh water jellyfish came from…a.k.a. condoms.  Local citizens flush them down the toilet, the combined sewer systems then flush them to the river with as little as 1/10th inch of rainfall.  They are not from extracurricular activities on the rivers! Remember, what you flush down your toilets and sinks DO NOT go away, they end up in our rivers.  To clarify questions asked about Combined Sewer Overflows please read the Save Maumee’s Blog post here: http://blog.savemaumee.org/2010/07/05/great-lakes-states%E2%80%99-500-square-miles-of-parking-lots-threaten-water-quality-walkability/

The meth lab, found on the banks of the St. Mary’s by Carrie Morris, the wife of State Senate candidate Jack Morris, and Marlin Rossiter, prompted Bloomingdale Association President to summon the police.  What did it look like? It was a yellow tube, about 1/4th inch in diameter and three feet long, attached to a plastic bottle on one end and a plastic bag to the other end.  All of this neatly wrapped up with a dozen pseudo-ephedrine cartons in a gallon size zip lock baggie.  As Carrie Morris said of the find, “It is important that we, as citizens, take on personal responsibility to look after our city.  Save Maumee was impactful today, and I recommend anyone who is concerned about the quality of life in Fort Wayne to join them in their efforts.”
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Interestingly, the police were extremely concerned about the soil and ground on which the meth was being manufactured.  They recommended that HAZMAT employees from the drug task force cleanse the area.  However, after realizing the bag with the manufacturing material was wet, it was then considered remediated, the baggie and contents were returned to the pile of wet trash from the river.

 

 

Be very aware that PEOPLE live on your riverbanks in Fort Wayne.  Here should be the following understanding regarding trash and these CITIZENS. Save Maumee past and present policy.  When you find an area where someone is living on the land, please remove anything that looks like it is decimated to the point of discarding.  If a blanket, for example, looks lumped on a shore after being washed in the Maumee River, please remove it.  If it appears that your dog would love to cuddle into a warm, dry blanket please leave it exactly how you found it, this may be considered property…Please move along to find other true trash and pollution.  It is not difficult to find true rubbish on Fort Wayne’s riverbanks.

 

This topic came up because a volunteer approached Founder of Save Maumee, Abigail King at 5pm and said, “I feel bad because I think I took someone’s home.  I removed a blanket and it was not very dirty.  I want to put it back where I found it. I feel like I made a mistake, what should I do.”  Abigail responded, “Here is the 30 yard trash container.  You can either go through it, find the blanket and return it to the place you found it, or you can pull your warm comforter off your own bed and give it to the riverbanks.  There are many homeless people and they will find another blanket to use or a place to sleep if you decide otherwise.”  None returned to the previous site.

 

Save Maumee is sending blankets and sheets next week to the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission as a good will gesture to honor the person who lost their possession and suggests all Fort Wayne citizens to do the same. If there is a used blanket in your closet taking up space, consider making a trip to the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission at 301 W. Superior St. to donate your warm bedding. The Mission said they would graciously accept gently used items.  If you are in need because you are missing a blanket, please request one from Fort Wayne Rescue Mission.  Fall weather approaches. 

Sometimes others feel like enough is not being done for our waterways, other times people feel like the issues are so large that individuals cannot make a difference.  Smash the status quo, feel empowered!  The homeless is definitely a discussion topic and would like your feedback as to leading by example. 

 

Now for a few funny asides:

Les Lesser entertained us and what an entertainer! I had people comment, “I love his passion, he is playing his heart out to only a few people – you can tell he would play the same to a thousand people, or a row of dogs!”  Now that is what a musician truly should be! YOU ROCK.

 Aaron Goulet from Local Level Promotions was the first casualty of the river that day.  The first family to disembark on their canoe journey of the day, fell in the Maumee when Aaron all his children in their life-vests, eagerly anticipating their first clean-up departed and flipped as Dad stepped into the boat! Sorry wet river lovers. They dried off and tried another successful attempt!

 

Phi Theta Kappa – Honors Society from Purdue University brought 10 people to remove trash! Large effort by another unified group that cares about your rivers!

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What was the most interesting pull out of the river? Foster found the following at one site…A Bible, 2 candles, a pair of underwear, 2 condoms, and a roll of film.  hhhmmm…

 

Thank you for 2 competitors working together for cleaner local rivers, Earth Adventures and Fort Wayne Outfitters / Bike Depot donated  FREE canoes for the day.  Thank you to ACRES Land Trust for the reusable water bottles and the Health Food Shoppe and Old Crown Coffee supplying snacks & coffee!

 

Save Maumee’s Benefit at Berlin Music Pub brought in $160! Bands included: Twisted Aversion, Rise To Fall, DV8, 11M 12D, Autovator, Blood From A Stone,  with the help of B-Rad Music Productions, Twisted Music Entertainment – THANKS to everyone to make this a fun evening for all.

 

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Saturday October 2nd, 2010 was Save Maumee’s 2nd Annual Fox Island Seed Harvest for the Maumee

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Thank you bush wackers!  You know we cannot do this without you!  All of you did such a great job the past 2 years!  The kids love it and the adults find the identification of plants valuable and educational!

 

2009 Stats for the Seed Harvest – 2010 Stats will be available soon – still drying, sorting and weighing.

There were 28 volunteers present in 2009 that collected approximately 29 pounds of quality seed in the 4 hour allotment!

Volunteers will be sent out to find primarily Big Blue Stem, Indian Grass, Canada Wild Rye and a little Switchgrass and Prairie Dropseed.  The grasses that are taller than your head were the ones we were seeking out and the ones that Save Maumee spends all of your hard earned money upon!  Some of the seeds will be grown in our greenhouse (growing them into plant plugs)…and the rest we will be planting on Save Maumee Earth Day, Sunday April 17, 2011.

Harvested on 9/26/09 and what will be planted on In order of AMOUNT collected

 

The following in blue is a price list from Heartland Restoration/Earth Source Inc. (2009) and how much plucking it ourselves saves money!

Big Bluestem: $12/LB                            Save Maumee collected approx. 10lbs = $120

Canada Wild Rye: $14/LB                      Save Maumee collected approx. 5lbs = $70

Indian Grass: $8/LB                               Save Maumee collected approx. 2lbs = $16

Tall Iron Weed: $225/LB                         Save Maumee collected approx. 5lbs = $1,125

Wild Bergamot: $352/LB                        Save Maumee collected approx. 2lbs = $704

Gray Headed Coneflower $105/LB          Save Maumee collected approx. 2lbs = $210

Common Milkweed: $7/oz, $108/LB        Save Maumee collected approx. 15 ounces = $105

Switchgrass: $2/oz                                Save Maumee collected approx.   6 ounces = $12

Prairie Dropseed: $18/oz                       Save Maumee collected approx    6 ounces = $108

 

So how much is all of this worth in dollars saved by plucking it ourselves?

Approximately: $2,470 WORTH OF SEED!!! THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS!

 

NEXT Spring ~April 17, 2011 Sunday ~ 6th Annual Save Maumee Earth Day

  • Plant trees, seed, plant plugs, install erosion control mats and remove garbage on the banks of the Maumee and have fun doing it with live entertainment!
  • We will have horses available this year for $25/person/hour for guided tours on the banks of the Maumee, the price INCLUDES horse poop-pick-up! We don’t want to contaminate your rivers! Cleaning up your dog’s poop on a walk will also improve water quality, so don’t forget your plastic baggie when you grab Rover’s leash! 
  • A grand event in the works with 267 participants for our Earth Day 2010, so save the date to celebrate our Earth in 2011!

 

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Upper Maumee Watershed Partnership meeting scheduled for October 27th in Defiance, OH Soil and Water Conservation District.  Meeting will include working with Hoosier Environmental Council for support and suggestions to progressively work toward cleaner waterways.

 

  • “River Summit” to be held in early 2011.  A meeting is set for October 28, 2010 at the Allen County Soil & Water Conservation District 3718 New Vision Drive from 3:00-4:30 to identify how a summit could fulfill different organizations needs and how events and activities will be arranged and what a summit hopes to accomplish. 

Information at your fingertips:

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

 

  • Passing this along from Maraiah at the FW Childrens’ Zoo.  Did you see the article in the Journal-Gazette on Tuesday 9/21?  If you are up for turtle cleaning in Michigan, the hotline number is 1-800-306-6837.  The (unpaid) volunteers from the zoo could probably use some help after these several weeks of cleaning oily turtles.  Call hotline number for training & volunteering. http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20100921/LOCAL0201/30921999

…AND pollutant specific limits in EPA law here: http://www.cleanwaternetwork.org/news-events/news/activists-seek-pollutant-specific-limits-new-epa-water-antidegradation-rules

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  • Soil from the Maplecrest extension road ending up in your river…and you are paying for it twice?  Before ground was broken on this land, it HAD to have an erosion control plan, so why will it cost an addition $20,000 to remediate something that was required from the beginning? Reported on August 9, IDEM shows up on the 25th?http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20100911/LOCAL/309119972/1002/LOCAL

OR

Hope your Autumn Season is bright,

 

Abigail Frost-King

Save Maumee Grassroots Organization Founder

Watershed Expert

Master Naturalist

 

Here we are…Online Activism!

 

Save Maumee Website:  http://www.savemaumee.org/

Blog: http://blog.savemaumee.org/

Email: abby@savemaumee.org

MySpace Save Maumee http://www.myspace.com/savemaumee

Twitter user name: https://twitter.com/savemaumee

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/savemaumee

A Greener Indiana: http://www.agreenerindiana.com/profile/AbigailFrost

FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/savemaumeeabigailfrost

 

 

Being Cordial to an Urgent issue – Maplecrest Extension Bridge

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

It is ludicrous to the way that our rivers are treated.  I must speak my mind today because enforcement should be on every voters lips.  The most recent issue is the Maplecrest road extension to new SR 24 and related erosion problems.

I was sent an email August 9th by a fisherman that had stumbled upon the Maplecrest bridge project.  He told me that he was angered by the construction workers at the site and their littering along the banks.  He felt concerned they were not cleaning up their trash.  Here is the video he sent me… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHIGTQMeHyE
Upon viewing the footage, I noticed not the trash, but the EROSION! Our approximate 200ft wide river was reduced to a trickle of its former Maumee girth.  It appeared that the construction company had no erosion control techniques in place thus causing accelerated erosion. Construction permits must include erosion control techniques – ESPECIALLY when building on a floodplain!  So I took the next step and contacted the Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and requested an inspection for the site.

SWCD came to the site, reporting there were zero erosion control techniques in place and then approached the Allen County Council with findings.  County Council are in charge of the coffer that is responsible for the building the road and the hiring of the construction contractors.  Allen County Council’s Nelson Peters (hearsay) said that we have larger issues than a little soil in the water.  Nothing happened with the erosion. I repeated this information to Mitch Harper to see if he could speak to the County Council.  I was told that I was repeating hearsay. [From the Soil and Water Conservation District…?]

I filed a complaint with IDEM on August 19. I was told that it could take their department between 30-60 days to have one of their inspectors go to the site.  IDEM is also a government agency that is not allowed to view anything on YouTube.  I was assured they would speed up the process, while also mentioning that the IDEM’s department of water was not being funded and she was leaving on vacation for the next week.

This construction company had a variance to build on a floodplain, and must provide erosion control techniques to keep the soil where it belongs, OUT of your rivers squelching life! Now saying this is expensive to remediate and bad timing for an inspection is ignorant. Maplecrest extension bridge is millions over budget and was part of their permits BEFORE they broke ground. This is a floodplain and needs permits to move dirt here.  ENFORCE THE LAWS – They are for the health & safety of citizens. IDEM is showing up Sept 28!!!!- here comes IDEM – seven weeks later?  When inspected the inspections still failed.- I encourage YOU to ask someone in which one of the boxes were checked that caused a failed inspection.  hhhhmmmm, cant?

I was then spurred to write this letter to the editor….that was approved by the Journal Gazette…but never published.

Allen County Commission should be responsible for the actions of the contractors hired to build the Maplecrest extension road and adjacent bridge.  Upon inspection of the river areas, there are no erosion control techniques in place (which is part of their building permits).  The land is suffocating the stream and all of the wildlife in this area.  These facts were brought to the attention of County Commissioner, Nelson Peters, but alas there are more pending issues than a little soil in the water.  Part of the problem with our rivers is the fact that even our agents responsible for our natural resources continue to side with big business rather than the interests of the population they represent.  Permit parameters are put-in-place for the safety of people.  If Allen County continues to turn its back to the rivers and continue to not enforce permits, other areas will follow suit.  Stop the erosion NOW County Commission.  I have video of the construction of the Maplecrest road extension area and the decimation of the Maumee.  Erosion and sediment continue to be the #1 problem with our waterways, be part of the solution.  Check it out for yourself:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHIGTQMeHyE

Maumee River - FLOODPLAIN AREA - DO NOT MOVE DIRT

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This is another video the fisherman had uploaded about the litter in the area as well… http://www.youtube.com/user/balex222 – beware – he used the F word at the end of the video, although Save Maumee does not endorse this language, his frustration boiled over.

This is one small example of how our laws are made for protection, but without enforcement why do we spend the money to write and pass legislation?  This is common sense….I guess it is just not that common anymore…

Nice song and dance though.

Thoughts?

 

 

County told to control dirt

Maplecrest work inspection finds soil entering Maumee

FORT WAYNE – Inspectors say the Allen County Highway Department and contractor Primco are not following their plan to prevent soil and sediment from flowing into the Maumee River during construction of the $38 million Maplecrest Road extension.

A report from the Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District, the first line of defense to ensure construction sites meet stormwater regulations, determined that the project’s erosion control methods were unsatisfactory in seven out of nine categories during an inspection last week. The inspector found sediment being tracked onto nearby streets and that sediment is entering the Maumee River through roadside ditches.

“The site is fully under construction without any working sediment controls in place,” the report said.

County officials said they are complying with its erosion control plan, which was approved by the state, but plan to work with the soil and water conservation district to comply with its requirements.

But poor timing affected inspection results, said Kyle Winling, project manager for the highway department.

Contractors are about to begin planting permanent grass seed along the slopes of the new roadbed on the south end of the river and had talked about doing the same on the northern roadbeds. The dirt roadbeds and slopes will lie untouched for the next year as contractors focus on building the bridge across the river, Winling said.

Trucks had also just finished hauling in concrete beams for the bridge and dirt was added on top of a construction path made of small boulders to ensure a smoother surface for the oversized trailers. That dirt will be removed from the river’s edge, he said.

Winling didn’t know yet how much it would cost to meet the added requirements. Any additions would come as a change order to the contract with Primco, he said.

Similar changes to the erosion control plan last spring cost between $10,000 to $20,000. But planting temporary grass along the slopes and future roadbeds that stretch through the almost 20-acre construction site could be costly, Winling said.

The county and contractor Primco have until Thursday to correct the problems. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management also plans to inspect the site Sept. 28, said Sharon Partridge-Hall, the construction site inspector for the soil and water conservation district.

Her report and inspection are considered preliminary steps, so the county does not face any fines. IDEM would be responsible for enforcement and investigations if the problems continue, Partridge-Hall said.

Recommended changes include building proper construction entrances and planting temporary and permanent grass seed or mulch. The county is also required to remove piles of dirt lying in ditches that run alongside Indiana 930 near Adams Center Road, where Maplecrest will be extended to. And any temporary roads leading to the river cannot be dirt, the report said.

Any areas that will lie dormant for 15 days must be seeded with temporary grass or mulch to comply with the state’s rules, she said.

Because the Maplecrest construction will have a direct effect on the river, Partridge-Hall had recommended the county beef up its plan to address stormwater runoff and erosion during an inspection this spring. A different staff member reviewed the county’s original erosion control plan, she said.

Any sediment that enters the Maumee eventually flows into the Toledo harbor at the edge of Lake Erie. Dredging the sediment that fills the harbor is a multimillion-dollar problem, Partridge-Hall said.

To reduce that sediment, work sites and farms are required to minimize the effects of rainwater, which washes soil into ditches and then into the river and eventually the harbor.

The county, which oversees and enforces stormwater control plans for private developers, has the opportunity to set the bar with the Maplecrest project, Partridge-Hall said.

aiacone@jg.net

In the above article I read, “Similar changes to the erosion control plan last spring cost between $10,000 to $20,000. But planting temporary grass along the slopes and future roadbeds that stretch through the almost 20-acre construction site could be costly, Winling said.

This is ridiculous! To even break ground on ANY construction project, one must have the permits in place that tell how the erosion will be dealt with, and then DO IT.  Costly WAS INCLUDED on the price of our tax dollars to build this thing properly in the first place.

Thank you for reading this…I feel strongly that many other construction sites need oversight as well.