Strodes Creek clean-up latest skirmish in war on litter

Published 3:00 pm Saturday, July 30, 2022

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On a cloudy Thursday morning along Barnes Drive, despite the threat of inclement weather, volunteers came together to help clean litter and other debris where Town Branch empties into Strodes Creek.

“This is one of the rare weeks where I, fortunately, had the time and opportunity to do it,” said Kevin Ryan, who serves as the Aquatics Director for Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation. “I was more than happy to help. In my role as Aquatics Director, I’m taking on a few projects with bodies of water here in Clark County, so this fits right in.”

There was a bevy of litter in the murky water, and volunteers sometimes found themselves in over a foot of water near sections of the creek rumored to have snakes.

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The cleanup yielded an odd assortment of litter. Among the more unusual items discovered: roofing tiles and siding, coffee mugs, styrofoam cups, prescription drug bottles, bags of chips, wood planks, and even a pair of tires.

The Winchester Stormwater Program organized the event, with Stormwater Coordinator Shanda Cecil helping lead the way.

“We are conducting an annual stream cleanup event. We have chosen this spot every year to see how much our efforts are affecting the stream. It has great access for the community”, said Cecil. “We’re really just doing it to keep our waterways clean.”

Though the stream may not appear large, it is connected to several famous waterways.

Town Branch empties into Strode’s Creek, which in turn goes to the Licking River, and – in order – connects to the Ohio River, Mississippi River, and finally the Gulf of Mexico.

“Our actions in Clark County affect all those waterways,” said Cecil.

Though many people associate the cause of littering with tossing away items at random, Cecil insists this is not always the case.

“It can come from the back of truck beds, just people randomly littering, runoffs from the streets, [or] backyards if the water gets elevated,” she states.

Fortunately, efforts to combat the issue of littering are available to anyone and everyone.

“[Anyone] can conduct their own stream cleanup in their neighborhoods,” Cecil said. “The city would be very grateful if you’d let us know about it, just because we’d love to know what you’re doing in your neighborhoods.”

By cleaning the creek itself, the volunteers hope it will have a more positive impact on Winchester.

“Our role is to look at the health and fitness of our community,” Ryan said. “Clean bodies of water are an indicator of the health of our communities as well.”