Trash Is Catch Of Day

November 16, 1994|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Sun Staff Writer

On Saturday morning, Rick MacDonald will go fishing -- for trash.

The 41-year-old computer specialist will join a number of other volunteers along the banks of Sawmill Creek, trying to restore a small portion of a watershed that feeds the Chesapeake Bay.

Mr. MacDonald, who spent entire days water-skiing, fishing and crabbing as a child at his parents' summer home on the bay, remembers seeing three species of grass, some growing 4 to 6 feet tall.

Only one species is left now, says Mr. MacDonald, a volunteer for the Sawmill Creek Recovery Team, part of the Maryland Save Our Streams program.

"I've seen the bay change over the last 25 years," said the Glen Burnie resident. "The whole thing starts with little streams that feed into bigger rivers. I'm just trying to do my part."

He says he dedicates his efforts to the bay and to his 14-year-old son, Paul, who enjoys fishing at his grandparents' waterfront home and sometimes joins him on the cleanups.

The recovery team, which formed three years ago, has five members. Extra hands are always welcome.

Sometimes the group draws 10 extra helpers, and other times the number swells to 55, said Mr. MacDonald, who lives within walking distance of Sawmill Creek.

The team will meet on Stewart Avenue, near the State Highway Administration building, at 9 a.m. and will hunt for debris until noon. Mr. MacDonald suggests that newcomers adopt the garb of the veterans: boots and rugged clothing.

In the past, volunteers have fished out of the water old tires, wooden pallets, car parts, used air-conditioning parts and food wrappers, said Jonathan Pearson, a Maryland Save Our Streams coordinator.

Three years ago, the state began a watershed restoration and preservation program, and Sawmill Creek was one of four targeted creeks, said Mr. Pearson. The recovery team has been cleaning up the creek for about 2 1/2 years.

Sawmill Creek curls around the eastern edge of Baltimore-Washington International Airport and continues its run behind the Cromwell Shopping Center, slipping under Ritchie Highway before emptying into Furnace Creek. It runs through about 5,000 acres.

Beverages and snacks will be served after the cleanup. The team plans to sweep the watershed monthly between now and May.

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