Green DC: How You Can Protect Rock Creek

I live right next to Rock Creek Park and use it often for walking the dog or riding my bike. In addition to being a great urban park, its also convenient for pedestrians looking to travel through the city. Fun Fact: Rock Creek Park offers horse riding and a concert venue too!

If you've ever been to Rock Creek Park, you've probably noticed that the actual Rock Creek is not healthy. The creek covers 82 square miles of land (an area larger than DC) including areas of Montgomery County, MD and Washington, DC. While it meanders through our community, it picks up all the fertilizer, pesticides, automotive fluids, garbage, dog feces, etc. that makes up society's waste.

This has caused a water body where Teddy Roosevelt once skinny dipped to become a toxic, odorous nightmare. But there are ways you can help restore and protect Rock Creek.

First, I invite you to become a member of Friends of Rock Creek's Environment (FORCE). You can view their website HERE. I am a member and I have been impressed with the organization and activity of this group. In addition to large-scale annual clean-ups of Rock Creek, FORCE hosts invasive species removal projects, education events and many more important programs. The eventual restoration of Rock Creek will be due, in large part, to their efforts.

Second, begin thinking about what you are putting on your lawn and down the drain. When it rains, everything on the sidewalks, roads, yards and roofs is collected and carried directly to Rock Creek. As a result, a nasty stew of chemicals is deposited into the water. Pick up your pet's poop and avoid using excessive fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn. Repair cars with fluid leaks and properly dispose of oil.

Third, become "river smart." Plant trees around your property to reduce storm water runoff (you can get a $50 tree rebate from the DC government HERE). Install above ground "cisterns" which are large barrels that collect rain water from your roof that can be used to water your plants, wash your car and reduce runoff to the creek. Plant gardens in low points of your yard where stormwater generally flows to absorb it. Make sure the plants are hardy enough to handle the extra water and that they are native to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.

Since we all contribute to the pollution in Rock Creek, its great for us all to do our part to clean it up. Even taking a few hours on a Saturday with some friends to pick up garbage along the creek would make a big difference in its health.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! A great plan to go green. Keeping a healthy environment.