Nearly five years ago, we decided to take action to protect Winding Creek, a tributary of Rock Creek in Rockville, Maryland. Like so many of the streams in our region, Winding Creek was suffering from neglect and the effects of urban storm water runoff. The creek was filled with trash, its trees were being lost in floods, and invasive plant species had taken hold. Faced with an epidemic of similarly degraded streams, Rock Creek Conservancy, an environmental non-profit dedicated to the protection of the Rock Creek watershed, began recruiting volunteers to begin the work of restoring these precious ecosystems. Known as Stream Teams, these volunteers adopted a stretch of Rock Creek or one of its tributaries. We were among the first to respond.
Since the team began their work, Winding Creek has undergone a revival. Volunteers have removed more than one hundred fifty bags of rubbish and nearly fifty automobile tires. Entire stands of invasive plant species have been cleared, thus opening space for native plants to grow and thrive. Last November, several native trees were planted. These will provide habitat for many animal species and reduce erosion. This November, more native trees and perennials were planted. Furthermore, the team has been incorporating water quality tests into their work so that they can measure their progress.
Most recently, the team joined MD Department of Natural Resources initiative “Explore and Restore your Schoolshed”, a wonderful program which encourages teachers to use streams to teach their students about stream ecology and to take action to protect and restore them. Please visit this site to see our data: http://maryland.fieldscope.org