By Jessica Ferrato, Water Committee Chair
NEO Sierra Club’s Water Committee works with the State Chapter Clean Water Campaign and a number of other watershed partners to train volunteers to recognize and report clean water issues. Join the committee or the Water Sentinel training program to be a part of our network of watershed defenders. For more information, contact Jessica Ferrato via email.
In spring of 2012, Northeast Ohio kicked off its Water Sentinel Program by training and outfitting 25 new volunteers to monitor water quality in Northeast Ohio streams. The Water Sentinel Program continued to grow with an additional class of volunteers trained on October 19 at the new Watershed Stewardship Center in Parma.
Clean Water Fellowship
In coordination with the State Chapter, Sierra Club hired two Clean Water Fellows this past year to work on water issues in Northeast Ohio. In spring, Case graduate student Alexandra Litofsky helped streamline the Water Sentinels Program software and database apps. This fall, Lake County resident and University of Alaska graduate student Eric Nestor will catalogue information and community feedback about ongoing construction projects impacting Mentor Marsh.
Lectures and Speakers
Prior to a beach cleanup on July 13th at Mentor Headlands, Sierra Club volunteers enjoyed a naturalist-led tour of the Dunes, courtesy of Preserve Manager Adam Wohlever from ODNR.
NEO Sierra Club’s general meeting for October was held at the Watershed Stewardship Center in Parma, and included a presentation from Bluestone Heights’ geologist Roy Larick about daylighting urban streams, a tour of the Stewardship Center and a brief Water Sentinels presentation.
Cleanups and Watershed Actions
Northeast Ohio Sierra Club partnered with Drink Local Drink Tap and Friends of Edgewater to support a Trash & Pancakes beach cleanup and breakfast at Edgewater Beach on June 22nd. Volunteers also pitched in with LoCo ‘Yaks’ Black River Cleanup in May, and a Mentor Headlands Beach Cleanup on July 13th.
Earlier this year, over 200 Sierra Club members responded to an action alert and sent comments to USACE regarding a development permit at an active construction site in a wetland area upstream of Mentor Marsh. Many of the comments requested that a public hearing, more detailed hydrological studies, and onsite mitigation be a part of any permit issued for this site. Sierra Club members and staffers joined CMNH staff, Mentor Marsh naturalists, academics, and concerned citizens in a visit to Rep. David Joyce’s office to draw attention to Marsh conservation priorities and to request support.