For the past five years, Green Towson Alliance (GTA) volunteers have cleaned up local streams in Towson neighborhoods, clearing out over 7 tons of trash and debris to keep local streams healthy and to preserve our environment. While GTA traditionally conducts stream clean ups in the spring, the pandemic caused a delay in the spring 2020 cleanup. However, GTA successfully cleaned out 10 sections of local streams in September and October, modifying the cleanup process in accordance with COVID measures.
To stay safe, GTA organized small groups of no more than 5 people, who wore masks and stayed at least six feet apart. During these stream clean ups, 66 bags of trash were collected, as well as many bags of recyclable aluminum cans and plastic bottles. Larger items included coolers, backpacks, tools, building materials, clothes, a baby stroller, a piece of a wooden desk, lamps, 2 big stereo speakers, a metal sign, wire fencing, a boogie board and part of a mirrored disco ball.
50 volunteers, including GTA members and their families, local residents and children, cleaned up the streams along with volunteers from Girl Scout Troops 1152 and 1550. One of GTA’s leaders, Carol Newill, coordinated the teams and the supplies.
Eight of the stream cleanup sites were on the Herring Run, including sections near Radebaugh Park, Overlook Park and the Loch Raven Library. One site was on the Jones Falls and another on the Roland Run; both of these streams flow into Lake Roland. The Herring Run flows into Back River and then the Bay, while Lake Roland flows into the Jones Falls, to the Patapsco River and then the Bay.
In addition to cleaning up the streams, GTA volunteers also detected a sewer smell in one section of a stream and reported it and also reported a water leak in another neighborhood.
GTA’s local stream cleanups are part of Project Clean Stream of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, which supports cleanups throughout the Bay’s watersheds in six states. Keeping the streams and the Bay clean continues to be an important job for everyone interested in our shared environment.
Green Towson Alliance, a non-profit collaborative coalition of Towson area environmental volunteers, works to make Towson neighborhoods healthy and green by planting trees, cleaning up streams, protecting mature canopy trees and working with local and state officials to encourage green open space in Towson’s communities.