Starting in Berks and draining all but the western portions of Lancaster County, you're likely familiar with the 'Stogie'. By the time it reaches Lancaster City, it will contain the runoff from New Holland, Akron, Ephrata, Denver, Reamstown, Leola, East Pete, Lititz and Terre Hill.It's also one of the most impaired watersheds feeding the Cheseapeake Bay.
Roughly 330 miles of the Conestoga and it's tributaries remain on the federal list of 'impaired' streams. The Mill Creek is one of the largest tributaries and weaves through scenic farmland, the commercialized Route 30 corridor and Lancaster County Central Park before meeting up with the Conestoga in Buchmiller Park.
A Susquehanna River Basin Commission report has also indicated that the Conestoga and it's watershed flushes nearly 30,000 pounds of nitrogen and 1,900 pounds of phosphorus into the Susquehanna River, each and every day.
How in the world does that happen?
As a concerned citizen, it's often difficult to impact these activities.
It's easy to get discouraged and well, do nothing.
Chances are very good that you don't own many cows, maintain huge sections of creek frontage or control an industrial discharge.
But unless you're living a remarkably pure life, you're generating trash. And unfortunately, some of it might be trapped on the banks of your local waterway. If we don't pick it up - it's highly unlikely that somebody else will.
Last year we tackled the Conestoga River (around the Conestoga Pines Park) and hauled out 0.79 tons of trash. This year we're moving on to the Mill Creek.
Meet us at Flory Park - enter through the main entrance off Greenland Drive. We'll get you signed in and started.
You only need to dress for muddy/dirty conditions. If you can pick up trash or plant a tree, you're perfectly qualified.
We'll have some wader boots and a few boats for the brave. You'll have to sign a waiver that absolves us of absolutely everything, of course.
C'mon, it's a stream clean-up event! You're going to get wet and muddy either way. Lightning and/or tornadoes are the obvious exceptions.
Would you rather dig some holes instead? Then grab a shovel, some donated seedlings and start planting.
The banks are steep and the creek can be deep - but Flory Park (and the walking trail) can be cleaned and there's always the playground and ballfield to enjoy!
We'll pile all of our trash together, split apart the recyclables and then grab the requisite photos in front of our mighty haul.
At 5pm we'll celebrate with BBQ from our friends @ Baron Von Schwein.
We'll start at the park in East Lampeter Township and work our way upstream towards Dutch Wonderland. Just off Greenland Drive, this 43 acre park was donated to the Township by Robert and Agnes Flory. The recent streambank restoration and tree planting projects have greatly improved the riparian buffer in this area - and it's a great place for us to start our efforts.
Enter the park through the main entrance off Greenland Drive (go past East Towne Mall). We'll meet at the first parking area alongside the Creek (it will be on your right).