Running Water

 Last week the skies cleared, the weather warmed, and I pulled out my running shoes for a lunch-hour run.  I had no idea what I was in for…

Within three blocks, I ran into a friend who had recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan—a place with little water and many other perils.  He and his friend were planning a river clean up, and retrofitting a house to conserve water, so the chance encounter was welcomed and productive.   This detour led me to another wonderful water occurrence:  A man creating a beautiful work of art around a storm drain as part of the James River Basin Partnership and City’s Storm drain reveal project.  Check it out in front of St. Michaels on McDaniel and South, where “Jordan Creek is just a hop away”.

From there I hopped on “The Link” to the MSU campus, where the new recreation center’s large rain garden was full from the previous night’s rain and seemed to be functioning

Walnut Streetscape after BMPs

well.  Right next door at Greenwood Lab School, our automated water sampler for the DNR 319 Big Urbie project was sitting, hopefully full of water samples.  The data collected here will ultimately help tell us how well our water quality “best management practices” work.  And before I knew it, I was at another DNR 319 Big Urbie project: the Walnut Street Streetscape, where attractive landscaping also does a huge amount of stormwater work.

By the time I was back downtown, my lungs were filled with spring air and my heart was filled with a feeling of success.  And then I saw it—A young man casually tossed a cigarette but in a smoky ark toward a storm drain, directly in my path.  He cringed as I stopped running, bent down, put out his cigarette.  After awkward silence I said, “Hey, did you know these go right into Jordan Creek from here?”  He said “Really?”  I threw it away in the trashcan a few yards away, and wondered if this action would affect his behavior in the future.  The tone of his voice seemed sincere, and I would like to believe it will be the last time he puts a butt in the creek.

 This uncanny set of circumstances seemed to affirm two things.  One is that we (WCO and many other water warriors) are making a difference—one project, one conversation, one action at a time.  The second is that we still have a long way to go, but I think if people understand an issue, they are more likely to come with you.

Mike Kromrey
Executive Director

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.