On a gorgeous Saturday morning in the midst of autumn, two dedicated VT ECOAmeriCorps members skipped out on a typical weekend morning off to venture out to Rugg Brook, located in the middle of the commercial district of St. Albans. The purpose of the visit was to conduct a cleanup in a 200-meter section of the river corridor, adjacent to the nearby industrial park.
Littered with plastic bottles, household trash, scrap metal, hazardous sharps, and everything few and far in-between, Thomas Bryce (Outreach and Project Coordinator – Friends of Northern Lake Champlain) and Brodie Haenke (Watershed Technician – Franklin Watershed Committee / Missisquoi River Basin Association) got their hands dirty and feet wet,wading out into the brook to make a direct impact on the water quality and aesthetics of the corridor. Over the course of just two hours (9:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.), the two ECO AmeriCorps members collected approximately 100 lbs. of garbage and other forms of human waste that would’ve otherwise ended up downstream and eventually into Lake Champlain.
In context, garbage and organic waste can pose many chemical and biological threats to the wildlife and quality of a natural ecosystem when disposed of improperly, and while this cleanup was only a small percentage of all the impaired waterways in Vermont, one piece of garbage removed at a time is a big step in the positive direction to improving the quality of life around the Lake Champlain Basin Watershed.