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December 05, 2016
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Muddy Waters; Fish sing the blues

Visible in the foreground is a slug of sediment-laden water as it enters a clear body of water.
Photo courtesy Wayne County (PA) Conservation District

As you travel around the watershed, citizens can help greatly in determining if erosion and sediment control practices at construction sites are up to par. For example Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s (DNR) Muddy Waters Watch and the recent Pipeline Watch have trained Delaware River residents for over two decades to watchdog construction activities and report pollution, including bad, failing or missing best management practices. DRN’s recent Pipeline Watch was specifically launched to monitor over 13 large natural gas pipeline projects being considered or in some phase of development in the Delaware River Basin, and because these pipelines are linear in nature and impact large swaths of land and many streams and wetlands, keeping sediment out of the water bodies in the path of the pipeline is paramount.

In Pike and Wayne Counties, over 20 local community members and landowners helped watchdog the recent Tennessee Gas Pipeline that cut through forests, wetlands and streams over the past few years. They, as well as the county conservation districts, documented over 60 instances where problems were occurring and compliance was needed. With citizens now having the ability to easily take photos in the field with GPS-enabled phones, this type of visual watch-dogging has become even more effective in the last five years. If you see construction activity that you think may not be following BMPs, or if during a rain event you see sediment laden water entering water bodies, snap a few photos with your phone and contact DRN’s pollution hotline number (800/8-DELAWARE) or your local county conservation district. Or consider coming to one of DRN’s trainings to learn more about how you can help protect streams in your community.

[Faith Zerbe is a biologist with Delaware Riverkeeper Network and directs the organization’s Water Quality Monitoring Program. In her free time she enjoys time in the Upper Delaware – kayaking, camping, snorkeling, and hiking.]