Bristol Marsh

Day of Service Along the Delaware River

by Tom Damm

Signing up for the clean up

Signing up for the cleanup

Actions of all sizes are helping to restore the Delaware River and its surrounding areas.

There are broad steps, like the recently approved Delaware River Basin Conservation Act that will help coordinate and advance protection activities.

And there are more focused ones, like this week’s trash cleanup at the Bristol Marsh in Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania.

On Monday morning – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service – a dozen EPA employees, plus family and friends joined other volunteers, mainly high school and middle school students, to spruce up this critical resource along the main stem of the Delaware River.

With trash bags in hand, the nearly 90 volunteers – almost double the expected number – combed the marsh for discarded items.

Small sample of the junk pulled from the marsh

Small sample of the junk pulled from the marsh

Along with the commonplace bottles, cans and paper litter, we had some unusual finds: a buoy, a One Way sign, flip flops, even a bedframe, unearthed as if it were an archeological discovery.

The effort to give the marsh a clean slate, organized by the Nature Conservancy and the Heritage Conservancy, was well worth it considering all the marsh returns for the favor.

The freshwater tidal marsh, a wetland rarely found in Pennsylvania, supports a wide variety of plants, birds and animals.  It also provides spawning and nursery areas for fish and improves water quality by filtering pollutants and adding oxygen.

The marsh promotes recreational activities like bird watching, nature study and fishing and protects the riverfront from the impacts of flooding and stormwater pollution while trapping trash that floats in from the Delaware.

Hauling out a tire

Hauling out a tire

A range of efforts – some that will take many years, others just a few hours on a holiday morning – are making a difference for the Delaware and its 13,600-square-foot basin that provides drinking water for more than 15 million people and contributes billions of dollars to the regional economy.

From major new initiatives to the removal of societal junk from Bristol Marsh, many hands are at work in the cleanup.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Life’s Most Persistent and Urgent Question

By Jaclyn McIlwain and Tom Damm

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s compassion and commitment to service, citizens across the country will be volunteering their time and talents to improving their communities this Monday.

Still haven’t decided how you’ll pitch in?

If you live in the Delaware Valley, join us for a trash cleanup at the Bristol Marsh Preserve, located in Bristol Borough, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Trash collected during 2012's Bristol Marsh Clean Up

Trash collected during 2012's Bristol Marsh Clean Up

For the second year in a row, a group of our EPA regional employees will mark the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service by participating in the Heritage Conservancy’s annual Bristol Marsh Cleanup.  It’s one of the initiatives of our employee-led EPA Region 3 Emerging Leaders Network (ELN).  ELN’s Community Service Crew organizes and participates in service events in the greater Philadelphia area.

In the spirit of EPA’s mission and Dr. King’s imploration for service, the ELN and its members are committed to improving our natural spaces, where we gather, recreate, and recharge.

The Bristol Marsh Preserve is one of those special areas.

This freshwater tidal marsh – a type of wetland rarely found in Pennsylvania – offers important feeding grounds for migratory birds, waterfowl and wading birds.  It also provides spawning and nursery areas for fish, improves water quality by removing pollutants and adding oxygen, and supports a variety of recreational activities, like bird watching, nature study and fishing.

The cleanup from 10 a.m. to noon is being organized by the Nature Conservancy, the Heritage Conservancy and Bristol Borough.

Can’t make it to Bristol?  Service projects are happening across the country during this long weekend.    Click here for information on a project near you.

This Monday, take time to answer through action one of Dr. King’s most famous questions, “What are you doing for others?”

About the Authors: Jaclyn McIlwain is a Life Scientist in the Office of NPDES Permits and Enforcement working on coal mine permitting.  She graduated from the University of Delaware with a BS in Environmental Science, and serves as the ELN’s Community Service Crew Lead for the Mid Atlantic Region.  Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.