All posts by Randal

Tenth Anniversary – Statement of Appreciation for Founder Michael Pollock

Michael Pollock holding up a hub cap during an Earth Day clean up in 2006
Michael Pollock holds up a hub cap cleaned from Northeast Creek at the Grandale bridge on Earth Day, April 22, 2006

At the Parkwood Flea Market in early October 2006, Michael Pollock stood at a table recruiting members for Northeast Creek Streamwatch, an organization to conduct volunteer stream monitoring of Northeast Creek, a tributary of New Hope Creek (Jordan Lake). Michael had responded to publicity from the City of Durham Stormwater Services environmental education office for volunteer stream monitors. It is hard to believe that after ten years Northeast Creek Streamwatch is still here, thanks in part to Michael’s persistence.

Michael Pollock grew up wandering the tributaries of Northeast Creek as a youngster, exploring the nature of the banks and wetlands near his home in the Parkwood subdivision of Durham. As he grew older, he wandered farther, read more, learned more and followed the path of nature writing. Today, Michael still contributes articles to the Parkwood Inside/Out, but he has added the Chatham County Line, and also this site, the blog portion of the Northeast Creek Streamwatch website.

Michael attended the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, where he studied biology and anthropology. He is knowledgeable about the local plants and amphibians of the area, with a special interest in the local salamanders.

When Northeast Creek Streamwatch has an information table at community events, you can generally find Michael showing frogs, a salamander, or whatever he was able to find in the creek that morning or a collection of local rocks that he has picked up over the years.

If you want to explore the main stream of Northeast Creek, you can go on one of Michael’s quarterly stream monitoring visits to the creek or one of his nature hikes. A favorite time is when the spring ephemerals are out in the Corps of Engineers game land along Northeast Creek at Grandale Drive.

The people of Northeast Creek Streamwatch appreciate the fact that Michael Pollock got us going; yes, he’s the founder. We appreciate his sharing his knowledge with us. And we celebrate the ten years that we’ve kept Michael’s project going even as its activities have evolved. Thank you, Michael.

American Tobacco Trail – Big Sweep – October 3 – Volunteer

Because of the potential for flooding and falling trees from the soggy soil, Northeast Creek Streamwatch has postponed this week’s clean-up of the American Tobacco Trail. We will have a rescheduled date sometime next week.

A cleanup of the trail that crosses Northeast Creek and its tributary Panther Creek in the 6 miles between Fayetteville Road in Durham County and New Hope Church Road in Chatham County. This section covers the part of the trail that crosses the Northeast Creek and Crooked Creek watersheds.

RSVP at Northeast Creek Streamwatch Facebook site

Meet at the trail heads at Fayetteville Road bridge (south of Massey Chapel Road), Scott King Road, O’Kelly Church Road, and New Hope Church Road.

Saturday, October 3, 9am – Noon

Cleaning sections moving both ways from the trail head.

Pack, bike, or wagon out trash bags

Durham Creek Week 2014 – Clean Up Parkwood Creek

Ten volunteers (eight shown here) cleaned up the creek that runs to Parkwood Lake
Parkwood Creek Clean-Up – Creek Week 2014

Ten volunteers (eight seen here) in three hours cleaned out six bags of trash on Parkwood Creek between Seaton Road and the Lotus Pond on Clermont. Objects recovered from the creek were a couple of small tires, a well-weathered kickball and small football, a length of twisted guywire, and a bent metal table leg.

Homeowners Guide to Stormwater Management

New Hampshire Guide to Stormwater ManagementNew Hampshire Homewoners Do It Yourself Stormwater Management
(PDF 56 pp, 10.4MB
The State of New Hampshire has prepared a New Hampshire Guide to Stormwater Management (PDF 56 pp, 10.4MB). The techniques for managing drainage on your property are applicable here.

The guide to native plants, however, is for New Hampshire. Look at the list of native plants under the Explore Your Neighborhood menu on this site for ideas about suitable plants for Chatham, Wake, or Durham counties. Or contact your Agriculture Extension Agent.

Stream clean-up and self-organization

Self-organization is an idea that has become current in the Facebook/Twitter age, but it does not depend on technology.

Self-organization is the process where a structure or pattern appears in a system without a central authority or external element imposing it through planning. This globally coherent pattern appears from the local interaction of the elements that make up the system, thus the organization is achieved in a way that is parallel (all the elements act at the same time) and distributed (no element is a coordinator).

Language and culture are self-organizing. Markets begin as self-organizing. Many of the things that were earlier labeled as the “social contract” are self-organizing. Civil society, those organizations other than corporations or government, are self-organizing.

Stream preservation involves elimination or reduction of:

  • sediment in runoff from property,
  • pollution from human-controlled sources,
  • pollutants in the air that fall out or wash out in rain as pollutants.

Watersheds consist of a tree of catchments. Catchment is another word for a drainage basin that comprises a single segment of a stream (a twig of a limb of the tree pattern of a stream) and the surrounding land from which the water runs off. The people who live in a catchment form the group primarily responsible for the water quality of that catchment. They can most effectively organize themselves to protect that water quality.

The Northeast Creek Streamwatch web site exists to support folks in the Northeast Creek watershed who are already working to improve water quality in their neighborhoods. The front page is for notices of events that clean up a section of the creek, provide environmental education to adults and children, advocate for better water quality, inspect and monitor the creek for deterioration and pollutants, and conserve the buffers on the creek and creek bottomlands.

The front page is for sharing stories about the history of folks who have lived in the Northeast Creek watershed and cultural events that have happened in the area.

The front page is for opinions about the best way to preserve Northeast Creek and its cultural heritage.

It is for teachers to share lesson plans about using the creek for instruction as:

  • a demonstration of scientific facts or principles
  • a laboratory for projects or field work
  • an example for making mathematical problems real and motivating students
  • a subject for art, photography or writing
  • a theme for performance, music, dance
  • a setting for drama
  • a subject for developing research skills in natural history, history, genealogy, measurement, laboratory techniques

It is for calls to advocacy on issues affecting the preservation of the Northeast Creek watershed, its natural heritage, and its cultural history.

If you live or work in the Northeast Creek watershed, the front page is for you.

It is for facilitating the self-organization that can help preserve the creek and its heritage.

To post, you will need a login. Request one from webmaster@northeastcreek.org. You must provide an address and an email address in order to receive a user ID; this is to ensure that folks who post are in the Northeast Creek watershed and to prevent spamming of posts and comments.