Richland Creek Watershed Alliance blog

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Monday, June 9, 2008

The creek tribe has arrived

You may have been wondering why there has been no blog entry from RCWA for April, May and now it is June. RCWA has been feverously making rain barrels, launching the stormwater stenciling program, planning for and holding the Spring Creek Clean Up, networking with other community groups, fielding inquiries and membership requests, and easing some growing pains with organizational bandages.

When the idea for a Richland Creek Watershed Alliance was born, one core understanding which guided the project was to have the watershed community’s interest in participation for an alliance; and understanding their voice was missing and needed. Community ownership for our local water resources, beginning in our backyards, is the glue that will hold us together and prompt action. We are a group and growing!

As RCWA partners with other entities to build a consensus for this alliance, we will learn from our mistakes, build leadership, identify our limitations, plan and complete restorative watershed projects and grow as an effective organization. The path and shape the alliance takes will be a reflection of the stakeholder collective. This realization, I feel, makes my job easier and the alliance a solid grassroots organization.

Now it is June, and it feels as though RCWA has grown legs, thanks to The Tennessean, their writer, Pam Sherborne and many others who helped in the publication process of the recent RCWA newspaper story,(Friday and Sunday). It has provided an avenue for stakeholders not connected to the internet to find out about us, and they have responded. My hope one day is that RCWA will not be needed, but until then, we are grateful.

Personally speaking, after the very successful creek clean up on May 31st, I feel I have found my tribe; my creek tribe. These folks worked very hard in treacherously steep terrain, extreme heat, and thick overgrowth, with such bonding spirit and gracious camaraderie, the inspiration and reward is overwhelming. As mentioned in an earlier blog there has been a contractor for one of the occupants along the creek bank that has been annually cutting trees and leaving them in the streambed. For those that don’t know, this loads the stream; a term which refers to the collective inflow of organic materials which over time decomposes in the creek and depletes the oxygen, not to mention in this case; impairing stream flow and eroding the stream bank. Anyway, as I was introducing the creek clean up crew to the work at hand, I pointed to the piles of trees which had been cut and left in the creek, at two separate locations, assuming we would not have the time or energy to get them up and out of a 15 foot steep slope for Metro brush pick up. I was wrong! They indeed did get all those trees out of the stream bed, and onto the sidewalk, and in a safe and organized manner. These piles were out of the street, bound and separated according to their size (see photo). Their conscious care and enthusiasm has changed me and I will continue forth, and now, with my creek tribe.