The Issue: Runoff Contaminants in Mill Creek
Prior to the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, storm-water runoff and sewage overflows dumped excess levels of lead, pesticides, ammonia, and bacteria into Mill Creek. The contaminants negatively affected local fish and macroinvertebrates, leading to an ecosystem that could only support pollution-tolerant species such as bloodworms and leeches. Though the water quality has improved over the decades, the region found itself under a fish-consumption advisory. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency recommended the public have no contact with the stream, but people continued to fish and wade in it.
The Campaign: Funding Equipment to Test Water Quality
If this Grassroots campaign raises $780, then Groundwork Cincinnati/Mill Creek can fund the water-monitoring equipment and transportation needed for a local teacher's class to go on an environmental field trip to Mill Creek. Additional funds raised will provide school buses for additional field trips.
During the four-hour field trip, students learn about the history of the Mill Creek watershed, review safety procedures for testing the water, and learn how they can prevent pollution. They travel to one of 16 monitoring sites and conduct eight different tests for macroinvertebrates, dissolved oxygen, pH, phosphates, nitrates, turbidity, fecal coliform, biochemical oxygen demand, and temperature change. They also perform a site survey and record their data so it can be included in an online database.
Groundwork Cincinnati/Mill Creek
Groundwork Cincinnati/Mill Creek aims to develop a sustainable Mill Creek watershed by teaching the community about the environment and conducting ecological restoration projects. To this end, the organization has implemented four programs. The Freedom Trees program involves a 10-year urban-reforestation initiative linked with the local history of the Underground Railroad, wherein residents will plant at least 10,000 native trees in the corridor. Environmental-education programs introduce local youth to restoration with field trips for students and training programs for volunteers to monitor water quality and help conserve wildlife habitats. The Greenways project works to restore the natural landscape and develop recreational trails along Mill Creek. Laughing Brook teaches the community about the environment with a public artscape that recreates a functioning wetland filled with biosculptures of human hands, fish, and salamanders, and also helps clean storm-water runoff from a portion of Salway Park.
Check out more Groupon Grassroots campaigns here.