November 30, 2011

2000: A Drainage Odyssey

I didn't know when exactly it would happen but yesterday at around noon I hit lucky storm drain number 2000.  Soft-spoken with a quiet dignity about her, Charlene was her name.

She always wanted a 'No Dumping' marker...but she says she never looked good in hats.

In other storm drain news my super-car now denotes my governmental affiliation.   This way I can be a real Storm Drain Superhero and not just some dangerous loner driving about town looking down drains.

It's called a Versa because no matter what kind of magnet you put on still looks a little frumpy.

November 23, 2011

County Country

The AmeriCorps Water Quality Team of Knox County/Knoxville invited me out for a little assessment of Sinking Creek today.  Sinking Creek is on Tennessee’s 2006 303(d) list of impaired waters due to concerning amounts of e-coli present.  While only a very small part of Sinking Creek enters Farragut proper, this was an excellent opportunity to work with colleagues representing the Knox County perspective of water quality assessment.

Chessa uses a GPS device to note discharges in the stream and indicators of stream health.

Wherever there is land and water invasive species will find a way.

As the self-proclaimed Storm Drain Superhero I declare this my new secret lair.  Well, I guess it isn't a secret anymore.
Map. Look. Map. Assess. Look. Map.

Inlet Output

Though this map is short of about 200 points, here's a little sneak peak of the storm drains I mapped.  Much thanks goes out to Jason for making this map as legible as possible.  With about 1700 points on this map it would have looked like a giant green glob if he hadn't measured it down.

I finished quandrant two of Farragut yesterday and am well on my way to finishing up the entire town come Spring!

All data should be expressed in tiny lime green dots.

November 18, 2011

That's (also) a Rap

Erin, the AmeriCorps from Knoxville Air Quality, stopped by the Farragut recording studio last night to lay down some vocals on her track.  Erin plays the part of Dobsonfly, a careless party bug. 

November 17, 2011

That's a Rap

Part one of the recording phase was finished last night for the first episode of 'Somewhat Remarkable Hip-Hop Conflicts of Water Quality.'  My fellow CAC AmeriCorps member put down some vocals for her character, Caddisfly.  More info on SRHHCoWQ to be arriving in the coming weeks!

Katie somewhere between take one and one-twenty-three.

Ever heard a folksy rap song?  They aren't east to make. Trust me.

November 14, 2011

Watershed or Aquabarn?

America Recycles Day was a big success for those of us at the water quality booth.  We were able to talk one-on-one with citizens who gave us tips on what stream they would like to see be restored and/or cleaned up within Knox County, Knoxville, and Farragut.  We also gave a few talks on what it means to be a steward of your watershed.

Knox county looks exactly like this from the view of an airplane window.  We're serious about identifying watersheds.

In other water quality news, Farragut's VRRB Adopt-A-Stream group pulled over 200 pounds of trash out of Turkey Creek this weekend.  Great job guys!

VRRB is geared up and ready to go.

In more watershed news I attended the Inaugural Watershed Symposium at the University of Tennessee today.  Frankly if I was a UT student right now I would have easily have been talked into a Watershed Studies minor today.  There were some really interesting presentations.

Until next time!

November 11, 2011

America Recycles Day

Knoxville will be holding it's annual America Recycles Day festival tomorrow at West Town Mall from 10am - 2pm.  Be sure to stop by the Water Quality table where I will be holding the torch for the Town of Farragut. So come by and we can talk about watersheds and the like - it'll be fun!


Here's a cool article from the EPA concerning newly developed environmental apps

I'm particularly fond of this water quality app.

Don't Call it a Comeback.

Though Mr. Spork didn't win the America Recycles Day Video Contest, he still likes to come hang out from time to time. Here is is schmoozing it up with the CAC AmeriCorps and two rather famous bombshells.

Turkey Spork in the background won 'best centerpiece'.
He wasn't actually a centerpiece but Spork doesn't like to split hairs.

He wakes up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy.

This makes me want to send GaGa a Narwhal hat and Ke$ha a Jeff Fish.

Stay tuned for more utensil goodness.

November 4, 2011

What is Adopt-A-Stream?

Well I am so glad you asked.

I really enjoy the work I do helping to coordinate Farragut's Adopt-A-Stream program.  It is a chance for me to interact with active community members while also indulging my love for being outside and making an obvious impact in a specific area.  Sometimes you come across really cool trash like this sweet Grapette soda can I found in Turkey Creek yesterday.  That's history right there.  Just think, this discarded can of pop predates Farragut's incorporation. She missed out on so many major life events here in America - The finale episode of The Golden Girls where we all said a teary goodbye to Bea Arthur, the Nancy Karrigen lead pipe debacle, and the rise and fall of Fred Durst who was largely considered the Mozart of our time.  You know, biggies like that.

Grapette - now in one delicious flavor! Grape!

Now through my historic trash adoption program this Grapette can will never be left in the dark again.  Currently I am catching it up on the 'Dallas' series (she never got to see who shot J.R).  Not all creek trash gets such special consideration however.  Just the other week Farragut High School's JROTC group picked up over 400lbs of refuse including a lawn chair, a working bicycle, and enough rebar to recreate the Megazord robot from Power Rangers.  All of that trash got the special consideration of just being diverted from the stream.  Not too shabby if you ask me.

Rebar Megazord...70% recycled steel, 100% awesome.

Wow, this sounds like a fun way to help increase the ecological integrity and beautify my community you say.  You're right.  It is both of those things.  So how does it work?  Another good question.  A group or individual can adopt a section of their choice and of varying lengths.  The length of the stream is determined -o-n the number of volunteers available to help clean up, the amount of time and effort to be put forth into your adoption, and the difficulty or ease of a certain length of terrain.  The Adopt-A-Stream group should then strive to complete one stream walk, three stream watches, a pipe and drainage inventory, and two stream cleanups a year.  More information on those responsibilities can be found here.

Farragut High's  ROTC in the latest wader fashions.

All of your supplies (trendy waders, fashionable safety vests, fifty gallon trash bags, etc.) are provided for you and you don't even have to throw away the trash yourself because we will do it for you!  Good deal right? Plus you get a snazzy blue sign on the side of the road with your group's name on it.  So all in all Adopt-A-Stream is win-win.  How many things can you say that about?

If you are interested in adopting a section of stream in Farragut you can reach me at the Town Hall at 865-966-7057.  Contact information for Knoxville and Knox County can be found here.

So go out there and clean some streams!

And don't forget to enjoy the great taste of Grapette today!

November 3, 2011

Fight the Zero

AmeriCorps is such an amazing program. Just the thought of it not being a part of the makeup of this country makes me shudder. As a second term member I can honestly say that AmeriCorps has been the most formative experience of my life. It has helped me become a valuable member of the workforce, the community in which I live and work, and the world at large.
 We must fight the zero Congress has placed on the budget of AmeriCorps.  We aren't looking for a bailout, just a chance to serve our country.