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The downstream impacts…

I like to call the narrow waterway behind my house a stream.

That’s not close to what it really is.

It may have been a stream before development ran roughshod over this neighborhood, but now it’s just another drainage. Roughly 60 yards from where I’m sitting in my third floor office, it spills out of a six foot high culvert which siphons rainwater runoff from a big apartment complex that’s another 50 yards further beyond.

Every so often I head down toward the culvert to retrieve junk that is either bobbing in the water or has washed up along the bank. That I can make it across this waterway with a modest leap tells you how wide it is. Essentially, I tend to the 60-70 yard stretch of water.

Indeed, I did head down to the 'stream' where I recovered the two previously seen polystyrene cups, plus a Diet Coke bottle.

Indeed, I did head down to the ‘stream’ where I recovered the two previously seen polystyrene cups upper right corner), plus a Diet Coke bottle (left foreground).

The problem comes another quarter mile or so farther down stream. My little rivulet runs into a larger creek, which runs into another creek, then another, and finally this entire watershed empties into the Catawba River.

Right now, I am in the process of standing up at my desk and will put on some old running shoes that can get as muddy as they want, then head toward the culvert again. There look to be at least two polystyrene cups lodged up against some fallen limbs with who knows how much more debris is hidden from sight, the residue from this weekend’s heavy rains. There’s no telling how much I’ve missed that is already headed toward points South. Could be a lot, could be a little.

Fungi grow readily just inches above the waterline of my little stream. They are apparently oblivious to our repeated attempts to ruin their very stomping ground.

Fungi grow readily just inches above the waterline of my little stream. They are apparently oblivious to our repeated attempts to ruin their very stomping ground.

I’m always amazed that, despite man’s inept carelessness, there is some life that persists on the red clay banks. Perhaps the wild mushrooms, lizards, wandering deer and the ever-present black snakes are telling us, “Screw you guys. Is this the best you have?”

About Dave Bradley (259 Articles)
I'm the one behind two totally unrelated blogs; one on 15 years of writing a weekly letter to my kids (plus other recipients), the other on my localized environmental responsibility. I'm a writer by trade and both endeavors are accepted practice for me. As for the letters, my adult children Ellen and Reid may have seen letters as corny at one point, but it's accepted practice for them, too, to find something in their mailbox other than bills and junk mail. Email and texting don't do a lot for me for a lot of different reasons. Snail mail has its place in the communicative world so as long as they keep selling stamps, I'm buying. As for 'Pick Up Your Path' and the environment, I advocate what citizens can do themselves to take a direct hand in their neighborhood environment. But Pick Up Your Path is also a general environmental blog. It may be largely about litter and trash, but both of those are just one element of the total environmental picture.

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