Healthy streams are vital components of our natural environment. They provide recreational opportunities, living and feeding grounds for fish and wildlife, flood protection, a source of drinking water and many other important functions. The healthier the streams, the better these functions are performed.
A healthy stream community has a wide variety of plants and animals both in the water and on the banks. These plants and animals form a complex ecological web that can be upset by pollution. Healthy streams should appear clean and have no presence of unusual colors or odors. Presence of these as well as unsightly trash are all sure signs of stream pollution. As pollution degrades, it robs a stream of oxygen, leaving less available for fish and other aquatic life.
Streams are just like people; they are fragile and must be handled with care. In much the same way that we react negatively to “pollutants” in our bodies, streams react negatively as well. So, we must take care of our town’s streams, and through our Adopt-A-Stream Program we are able to do just that.
To make sure everyone has a clear understanding of the program, guidelines and responsibilities are listed below. Please remember that a stream may be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not followed. Safety is our first consideration and it must be yours as well. We will work with participants to do all we can to make your experience safe and beneficial.
Citizen volunteers are essential to helping achieve the goal of maintaining clean streams. As part of the program, volunteers “adopt” a chosen stream segment within the town limits. Participants are responsible for conducting at least two stream cleans per year. All participants in the program are required to study safety guidelines and acquire complete understanding of the responsibilities and safety requirements of the program. Volunteers must sign the “Adopt-A-Stream Contract” and/or a “Waiver of Liability” prior to participation
Activities volunteers will conduct during a stream clean event include the following:
- Notify the Town’s Program Coordinator of planned stream cleans in advance.
- Collect trash and debris from the water and banks.
- Visually inspect the stream for signs of possible pollution problems.
- Group coordinator should report pollution observed by filling out a field data sheet describing the location and characteristics such as color, odor or appearances abnormal of a healthy stream environment.
- Coordinator should document on the field data sheet the location of collected debris to be picked up by town staff and return completed form to the Public Works Department no later than 72 hours following clean up.
Town of Boone’s Responsibilities:
The town’s role in the Adopt-A-Stream Program is to assist assigning available stream segments to volunteer groups and to assist in conducting successful stream cleans by providing supplies, necessary safety guidelines and pollution awareness information. The town will collect and dispose of all refuse retrieved from the streams and banks. When suspected pollutants are reported, the town will notify the proper authorities to investigate possible problems. If feasible, we will publicly recognize each group by placing an Adopt-A-Stream sign along the road near their stream segment. We will present them with a certificate of appreciation.
- Watch for sharp objects that may cut your hands and/or feet.
- Be aware that rocks or logs below the water’s surface may be extremely slippery. Take care when walking over these surfaces.
- Do not walk into deep pool areas of the stream, or anywhere where you cannot see the bottom.
- Avoid stream-walks after a heavy rain due to high and swift water conditions.
- Do not pick up medical debris, chemical containers or barrels, pesticides or other toxic substances. Mark these items and tell the group coordinator where they are located.
- Avoid touching injured animals that my bite or be infected. Again, alert the group coordinator.
- Be alert for snakes or stinging insects. Wear insect repellant.
- Some stream banks may be fragile, use caution when entering and exiting stream so not to disturb the environment’s natural structure.
- Always wear rubber gloves, good gripping closed-toe shoes and preferably long pants or jeans if possible.
- Never leave sight of your group.
- Carry a cellular phone if possible.
- Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian.
- The liability waiver must be signed and returned to the project coordinator prior to entering the stream.