Maumee River Advocate working to improve locally!

An article written by a local blogger, Robert Rouse. Thank You Robert!

Change starts at the ground roots level


Friday, February 12, 2010

By Robert Rouse


Abigail Frost

Abigail Frost took the mantle of a grassroots organizer to the nth degree after purchasing a home that overlooked the Maumee River in Fort Wayne, IN.  What she found in the river below her home compelled her to found and organize the Save Maumee Grassroots Organization.

The riverbank must have looked like a dump site to Frost.  Trash and debris littered the banks of the Maumee beneath her home.  Frost and her army of volunteers do their best to raise awareness about the problems with not just the Maumee River, but with the other two rivers (St. Jospeh and St. Mary’s) that converge with the Maumee near downtown Fort Wayne.

Each Earth Day, the group organizes a clean-up of the banks.  One year resulted in more that two tons of garbage extracted.

Here is a little more information about the Three Rivers – which, by the way, I live less than 100 yards from the confluence – provided by Save Maumee.

The 3 Rivers in Fort Wayne, Indiana appear brown and muddy, but the clay, silt bottom makes the color less than appealing to the average American.

Little do you know that the color is the very least of this watershed’s problems.

The St. Joe (starting at the bottom of this picture) is where over 200,000 people get their drinking water.

The St. Mary’s (on the far right) flows through several northeast IN counties and has high pollution and frequent flooding.

The Maumee River has high mercury, PCB and E. coli content, Fish Consumption advisories and is filling up with sediment and garbage. It also flows into the largest fresh water source in the world…The Great Lakes.

For even more information about this outstanding organization, please visit their website.

Ironically, the City of Fort Wayne appears to have developed a green policy, but it seems more directed at businesses than turning the city green.  According to the city’s web site:


Fort Wayne, IN

As of February 9, 2010, the Green City Business Program has trained 90 businesses and organizations. This growing program recognizes organizations that have completed all the necessary requirements to become certified as a Green City Business of the City of Fort Wayne.

The Green City Business Program is designed for businesses with existing facilities that work toward reducing waste and inefficiencies in four areas: Pollution Prevention, Solid Waste Reduction, Energy Conservation, and Water Conservation. The program is not geared for home office businesses.

As of February 1, 2010 there are 18 certified Green City Businesses in Fort Wayne.

I do have to give the city a little credit for their implementation of a Green City Newsletter that offers tips on saving the environment and better utilizing energy.

I asked former Allen County Democratic Chairman, Kevin Knuth what he thought could be done at the city or individual level to turn the environment around and he said, “I have to give that some thought. The first OBSTACLE I see is that basically, it often requires an up-front expenditure to save money in the long term. And the public doesn’t seem to ‘get it’.”   He added, “The city does offer re-cycling. I also remember when they used to take yard waste separately – but they had to stop because it cost too much. So now we put grass clippings in landfills

I want to thank Abigail Frost, Kevin Knuth, and City Council member, Karen Goldner for their assistance.  If you have any ideas or suggestions on grassroots efforts to save the planet one neighborhood at a time, leave me a comment.

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