2008 Accomplishments

Save Maumee Grassroots Organization wanted let you know what else we have been doing to improve your waterways!

This a note for ALL of you who helped to Save the Maumee in one way or another…

Our volunteers completed at our 3rd Annual Earth Day and our 1st Annual “Save Maumee Canoe Clean-Up, Can YOU Clean-Up?”

Because of almost 200 volunteers on Earth Day the Maumee River has the following improvements! YOU have:

Installed 3,000 sq/ft of erosion control mats called Geo-Jute. It’s made from coconut shavings and allows seed to grow through the mesh and the seed we planted will be held down in case of a major rain event. Mats will disintegrate in 4 years.

Planted 100 lbs of blended seed -Virginia Wild Rice, Switch Grass, Indian Grass and mixed riparian drought AND flood tolerant species called Mesic Prairie Plants. All these seeds are mixed with Annual Rye that will root and sprout quickly allowing the riparian seed to hold better. ALL seeds are native to Indiana and are pre-approved by the Department of Natural Resources. If we can get these grasses to hold for 5 years, seed like Indian Grass, will root up to 10 ft into the ground that will then live through flood or drought when fully matured!

Planted 100 Tulip Trees (aka Poplar Trees) which is the Indiana State Tree donated THAT DAY from Matt Jones & Allen County Partnership of Water Quality

  • A. Creating a buffer strip area to help slow runoff and slow the fast moving water during a rain event
  • B. “Drink” water quickly – so volunteers planted them in standing water areas to help with “West Nile” stagnant water puddles
  • C. Erosion/Sedimentation is the #1 pollutant in our watershed, holding down the soil with roots, so it is not washed away.
    The water moves so quickly all small trees/foliage are quickly pulled-out from the fast moving river!
  • D. Help with flooding because trees & grasses can absorb more water than barren soil.
    Trees and vegetation slows water down WHILE helping to compensate for enormous wetland loss in Indiana.
    Only 13% of wetlands remain in Indiana!

Planted 200 Cottonwood Tree “poles” that are not the ideal tree for the riverbanks but will serve stabilization purposes.

Weirdest things we removed…

  • A. 4ft long steel cable “pre-form”
  • B. Inflated plastic globe of Earth
  • C. Muddy KISS CD in its original case
  • D. 2 dead fish / 3 animal skulls
  • E. Booster child seat (our Home Depot sponsor, Shawn, pulled this out!)
  • F. Rubber duckie
  • G. Empty 3 Gallon Tank of Industrial Fertilizer Spreader- We donated this away

• 1-2 tons of garbage were removed from the riverbanks according to the nice Solid Waste man that picked up the 30 yard garbage container!

*We also passed out 40 shovels & 11 rakes to participants who wanted them for their home use!

  • WE STILL NEED PICKED UP / COULDN’T GET OUT steel drums and barrels on the south side of Maumee Riverbank, downstream less than a mile from the Hosy Dam – on down the Railroad Tracks – Thanks Patrick for finding them!
  • Save Maumee is requesting an official sign for littering and ONLY non-motorized vehicles on the Greenway! We also cleaned up 35 bags of garbage from “The Ravine” self-dug bike track and they need a garbage-can & pick-up!
  • Save Maumee is requesting the city waives the fee for next year’s Earth Day!

This year Save Maumee was very proud we have raised enough money in 2007 to buy 3,000 sq/ft Soil Erosion Control Mats called Geo-Jute. It is made from coconut or bamboo shavings and allows seed to grow through the mesh and be held down in case of a rain event. The “friendly” mats will disintegrate completely in 4 years, while the “staples” to hold them down will completely disintegrate in 8 years…Allowing enough time for plants to establish themselves.

Check it out…seed and erosion control mats and is where your hard earned money will go for Earth Day 2009! We are grassroots, no funding besides our beautiful supporters and area citizens.

Here are some comments from volunteers from Earth Day 2008:

Why isn’t the river clean yet?” – JJ, a 4 year old boy. “It looks so much better than before!” – Rick

“See what one person can do! Look at all the people who care!” -Ryan Bailey

“Every year I come, I think the riverbanks look better!” – Pat Frost

You have inspired me to find my hippie, activist roots. After I read your article last year, I have tried to make the World a better place.” – Ben, a first time Save Maumee participant.

“I cannot believe all this garbage around” – Lisa Chintaka

“I came from New Jersey for my job, and here I am in Fort Wayne planting trees!” – Karrie

“After cleaning all this up, I will never litter again!” – Anonymous

Next Year Looking For Someone to Buy:

  • Printing Services
  • T-Shirts
  • Funding for Abby to go to Purdue’s Watershed Academy in W. Layfayette.
  • Eco-friendly trash bags
  • MORE SEED = $530 for one square acre of Midwestern PrairieErosion Control Mix of native riparian seed
  • Erosion Control Mats = $90 / 900sq/ft.
  • A Save Maumee Banner!
  • Waders so we can stay dry when picking up in-river garbage!
  • Large 50 gallon barrels for the raft race and engineering of everything to make it float!Other Accomplishments & Developments 2008/2009
  • Save Maumee was represented at the National River Rally in Ohio on May 3-5. We received the highest scholarship available to attend!
  • Save Maumee was also represented at the Eco-Film Fest @ IIT Cinema Center, giving away 50 evergreen trees to attendees! – Thank you Partnership for Water Quality!
  • Chad Shaw, working on his Masters Degree is planning to do his entire year’s thesis on “Ecological Storm-water Management Retrofits for Urban Fort Wayne.” With his undergrad degree from Ball State’s Dept. of Landscape Architecture he is planning to create and present a plan for urban Fort Wayne, next year and we want him to work with Save Maumee!
  • Omni Source has expanded and has a concrete recycling project directly next to the Maumee River, this is extremely detrimental. Why? – Asbestos is in old concrete and when it is “ground up” the dust is flying directly into our river. This needs to end. Remember this is the same water that Toledo and Defiance OH gets their drinking water. Save Maumee was present at the brainstorm meeting formed by Sewer Advisory committee.
  • Dawn Kennedy is doing her photography project on Save Maumee & Earth Day at IPFW!
  • Save Maumee is on the approved volunteer list for IPFW students to gain community service credits for “Naturalist” type degrees.
  • Produced a 1/2 hour show for Access Fort Wayne from Earth Day 2008- Watch, you may even be on it! We also had a camera present for another production on our Canoe-Clean-Up, Can you clean up to be played on Public Access!
  • Ron James & Acres Land Trust is working to keep Cedar Creek protected against development in an extremely sensitive area. Save Maumee had 70 people sign a petition to keep the rules, regulations and codes set in place… not negate the current laws for the sake of illegal development.

2008 FYI – Ryan Bailey and Bruce Allen have removed 60 tires, an automobile gas tank, construction nets, a suitcase and as much plastic as one American can consume in 1 year.

5/2 & 5/3 – Solfest @ Fox Island . Save Maumee and the Allen County Partnership of Water Quality joined in with education, food, fun, live music, games, good times. We danced the May Pole & enjoyed. We educated the children for 12 hours that weekend!

5/2 – 5/6 – River Network’s National River Rally – Heartland Communities & Save Maumee were in the house representing & participating in a national meet-up and conference of Watershed Coordinators & Environmental Pioneers.

5/17- Camp Scott Open House. Come take a tour of a successful mitigated and constructed wetlands project.

5/18 – Every 3rd Sunday is the Really Really Free Marketw/Community Action Network @ Frieman Square . Come & participate in a free alternative economy. Come to pick up goods, materials, or equipment. Or come to drop them off. Come practice giving & receiving freely & help hedge consumption & waste. Only giving and receiving here.

Educating the public about their watershed is extremely important. With the enviroscape demonstration we have provided a public service with a hands-on approach so everyone can understand how important each individuals’ choices are, in the scope of water quality. It shows the decisions you make in your household and business can affect our entire watershed negatively or positively .The places we presented demo’s were…

6/7/08 Rock the Plaza (Downtown Library) 7-10pm – 12 children
 6/21/08 Eagle Marsh 11am-2pm Open House
6/12/08 Freiman Family Fun Night 6pm-9pm 40
children 6/14/08 Rock the Plaza 7-10pm
 6/21/08 Rock the Plaza 7-10pm 12 children

7/12/08 Rock the Plaza 7-9pm 18 children
7/20/08 Rock the Plaza 7-10 9 children
8/9/08 Save Maumee Fun-Raiser Volleyball Tournament 6 children / 6 adults 1-6pm
9/13/08 Save Maumee Canoe Clean-Up – 14 children 12pm-5pm

5/31- Hoosier Riverwatch Training “a volunteer water quality monitoring program,” with the St. Joe River Watershed Initiative at the USDA offices. Sign up to become a Hoosier Riverwatch Volunteer! CALL for the next schedule of free water testing classes!

6/12 County Council Met to “rubber stamp” Canyon Cliffs. Canvassed 70 signatures in 3 days and presented 13 copies to Allen County Council to oppose Canyon Cliffs Project on Cedar Creek. Reduced the impact from 28 homes approved, to 6 homes approved. ($750,000-1.5 million) Just so you know * 1 acre of agricultural farming run-off for 1 year without erosion control techniques will erode 1 ton of soil. *1/2 acre of land development (home/business) in 1 year without erosion control techniques will erode one ton of soil. Sediment/Erosion is the #1 pollutant in our watershed. Canyon Cliffs is a slap in the face to anyone trying to improve our waterways. County Council President (Bodenhaffer) has set precedence for others to follow down the pollution pathway. He should resign. This is still in the process of being approved write County Council TODAY!

Save Maumee supported, and all of you stopped the EPA from using Yazoo Pumps! On September 2nd, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a rare Clean Water Act veto to put a stop to the Yazoo Pumps project in Mississippi Delta once and for all. This outrageously destructive project would have used $220 million federal tax payer dollars to drain up to 200,000 acres of some of the nation’s richest wetlands. The project was originally designed in 1941 and would have benefited only a handful of farmers while destroying wetlands that have the ability to store up to 200 billion gallons of floodwater. After receiving almost 50,000 comments, 99.9 percent opposed to the project, the EPA issued their twelfth Clean Water

Act veto ever. Thank the EPA for its historic and environmentally responsible decision. (River Network email Sept. 2008)

6/19 – Eagle Marsh had an open house for anyone interested and Save Maumee was there to help!

8/ 9 – River City Bar & Grill, Mike Harvey & Fair Play Volleyball – Hosted a volleyball tournament and all proceeds went to Save
Maumee restoration materials for future projects! – ROSEMARY GATES entertained us! We raised enough money to get 1 acre worth of seed (100lbs) and 2 erosion control mats (900 sq ft). Streambank stabilization projects are receiving 0 dollars in Indiana currently. (Allen Co. Soil & Water Conservation District July 24, 2008)

8/08 – Filed 2 formal and 2 informal complaints about people and companies dumping into Fort Wayne Rivers. To report dumping call260.417.2500 and it will be immediately addressed! Anonymity is always respected. ALL of us desperately need to put a stop to this.

8/26 – Spoke to Top Notch Tree Service about combined efforts to begin a greenhouse for native riparian seeds to be raised in prospectivegreenhouses. The larger the plant growth-the larger the dollar figure it takes to nurture them. Seed = less money The larger the plant=the larger the $$.

9/10 – Abigail Frost was on “Public Access Council Call-In Live with City Council” Mitch Harper. It will be playing for the next month; Fort Wayne of Rivers; Problems&Solutions.

9/12 – Save Maumee had 3 members attend “The Nature Conservancy’s Wabash River Assessment Program.” Report is out December 2008 – Should be an interesting report!

9/13/08 – Canoe Clean-Up, Can YOU Clean-Up? Free Canoes were be provided by Earth Adventures on Main St. and Fort Wayne Outfitters and Bike Depot. Two competitors; working together, who share a common goal, to beautifying our rivers. Enviroscape for the kids & education at noon, 1:30 & 3pm. Spoke about History of our Rivers (Matt Jones) and a Plant/Herb Walk (Jain Young). It was too late in the season to plant but we got just

under a ton of rubbish from the riverbanks. 50-60 people were in attendance and we made the Sunday Journal Gazette in an article from Becky Manley. Strange things pulled out? – a blow up purple flamingo, a safe, a dead bloated rat, no trespassing sign, a hundred tampons and hundreds of condoms from the CSO discharging that day. Everyone said how fun it was!

October – Abigail is signing up to receive a “Master Naturalist” title from IPFW extension office put on by the DNR. Classes will begin in February and completed in June 2009.

11/6, 11/7, 11/8 Postponed 3 months due to the presidential election– Abigail has been chosen from the State of Indiana to receive a full scholarship to “The Renewable Energy Conference,” in Boston, MA. She has been chosen as a grassroots organization / community organizer by CLEAN to show how coal, oil and misaligned incentives and technologies are harming our water, air and soil. They will show the full circle of how renewable energy is the ONLY way for Mother Earth and how we are all related.

January 2008 – Abigail has received a scholarship to attend Purdue W. Layfayette’s Watershed Leadership Academy. This will allow me to receive the title of Upper Maumee Watershed Coordinator/Watershed Specialist or decided upon title! One full time semester will be added to my degree and render me an expert for our watershed so the work can move forward!

Earth Day 2009 – BE THERE!! April 22nd is Earth Day, but we made it on a weekend to honor the full day on SUNDAY April 19, 2009.

Between April 1st & May 15 there is a tentative plan for the Formal Blackberry Ball. Kekionga aka Fort Wayne was the capital city of the Miami Nation which is where the Maumee gets its name! Save Maumee will receive a percentage of monies for this environmental and cultural event and will hold a place as “River Chief” on the dais put on by Our Lady Missionaries. (tentative for 2009)

Save Maumee & Heartland Communities have joined forces to officially adopt the Upper Maumee Watershed through city, state and national support, grants and fund-raising. No other watershed group has stepped up to protect and rehabilitate the Upper Maumee Watershed that is recognized by Indiana of Environmental Management until now. We are in the process of applying for a 319(h) grant in August 2009 from EPA / IDEM to create a Watershed Management Plan “comprehensive plan of the watershed,” and do a land/water inventory of the entire Upper Maumee watershed. If you would like to be supportive in any way of this enormous project please contact me!

Rumors have it that 3 Rivers Festival Raft Race WILL BE ON! Save Maumee is considering entering the “Garbage Barge” and picking up garbage along the way. Come and see us OR help us design it. CANCEL THAT –

Three Rivers Festival Staff wrote:
“I am sorry but the raft race is not coming back. There are too many issues right now with trying to bring it back and we have not gotten those figured out yet. We are still trying to figure out a few events to try to bring some focus back to our rivers but currently I don’t have any details to reveal. But I can tell you the raft race will not be back in 2009.”
Kenna Fast Three Rivers Festival

Why will planting trees and grasses help river water quality?

Plantings will aid in combating erosion/sedimentation, which is the #1 pollutant in our watershed. The grasses will help to settle out suspended sediment in the water and trees will help to hold down the soil that could be washed away because there is nothing to hold down the barren soil when the water comes rushing when we have a rain event. Riparian projects like these will eventually will help with flooding too, it will allow a “rain-garden” type area so plants will drink it rather than just runoff into the river! Plants produce enzymes, absorbing bacteria and “eating” bacteria out of water. 85% of wetlands in Indiana no longer exist, these restoration practices will aid in replenishing wetland species right here! These practices also eliminate standing pools of stagnant water left over when the river water recedes – thus controlling West Nile and replacing pooling with grasses and trees to drink the standing water! ( West Nile is spread by mosquitoes that hatch in standing, pollution ridden water) Too little Dissolved Oxygen (DO) shows a negative snapshot of stream health. Fish cannot breath and either die or move elsewhere. Oxygen is taken out of the water from decomposing material and nitrates. Creating shade increases Oxygen in the water.

What is in the river that makes it so polluted?

#1 Reason: Erosion/Sediment/Sedimentation

There are 249 active NPDES permitted discharges (legal discharge points) and 44 CSO discharge points in the St. Joseph/Maumee watershed. Additionally there are illegal point source discharges such as tiles discharging septic tank effluent that exist in our watershed. According to Joe E. Johnson there has been 64 potential CSO discharges between July 2007- Sept 13, 2008.

E. coli. and bacteria from combined sewer overflows (CSO’s), geese, cattle and pig farms contaminate water. Research shows the EPA will allow 5 CSO’s/year. Dissolved Oxygen (DO) problems present in the Maumee will reflect on the wildlife also! DO is simply the content of oxygen in the water and if too low, wildlife cannot exist in it! PCB’s & heavy metals from large corporations, and factories stemming all the way from the rust belt time of 1920’s 30’s 40’s and 50’s still loom in the Maumee today and continues to be a dump site in 2008. IF YOU SEE SOMEONE DUMPING ALERT ME IMMEDIATELY! Indiana also used to have a natural “water filtration” system because we had 1/4 of our land mass covered with wetlands. With the removal of 85% of the wetlands within 4 generations, our natural “water filtration system” is devastating to our rivers and may be directly related to flooding! And of course too many nutrients from our own households and yards. There are so many chemical variables; metals, alkalinity, temperature, turbidity, organics, nutrients. Whatever you flush down toilets and sinks DOES end up in the rivers in Fort Wayne! Be conscious!

What impact has this had already on your family?

  • Non-recreational river….No Three Rivers Festival Raft Race, no swimming, no canoeing, no enjoyment in our beautiful resource.
  • Fish consumption advisories-fish can contain Mercury (Hg) Plastic, heavy metals.
  • Economics – Increased cost as consumers pay to heavily treat city water.
  • Health of future generations will lack the cleanliness of our renewable natural resource.
  • The history of our 3 rivers is not being held in high regard.
  • Drinking water for all the people downstream and the greater good, for the health of Lake Erie, where the Maumee ends.
  • Flooding – the losses are enormous
  • Habitat and species lost
  • What can I do to help clean up Fort Wayne ’s Three Rivers
  • Write to City /County/ State and National Officials and tell them you will not vote for them in the next election unless they do something to move forward with all of your concerns.
  • Begin your own campaign within your circle of friends to sign a petition.
  • Have river clean up days where you get your family and friends to join the fun.
  • Don’t pour ANYTHING but water down the storm drains, don’t pour medication, grease, cigarette butts, or ANY garbage down the toilet or sink….it will ultimately go to your drinking water! ONLY POOP & TP please with MINIMAL amounts of cleanser please!

Support Save Maumee and other organizations whom share your concerns.

Joining-in will help to bring forth successful restoration efforts in our watershed.

Practice Sustainable Living ~ Our Rivers thank you from their bottom.