Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Coldwater Creek Cleanup

Spent an evening a while back helping clean debris out of Coldwater Creek, one of the many watersheds feeding into Cootes Paradise. It is one of the only ones cold enough for fish to hatch in it. The name is something of a giveaway. The biologists at RBG have identified the shopping carts and tires in the creek as a problem. While they would love to have them removed, staffing and budget limitations prevent them from doing all they would like to do. This is where volunteers come in. (Although sadly, Alan and his 9 year old son and I were the only ones, as two other volunteers never showed. As I was to find out, this is a job for more than two people.)

I have been through a lot of areas in Hamilton, but this one was new to me. And it was rough. Getting in wasn’t so easy, especially carrying equipment, and I can only imagine that trying to haul some of this junk out is even more of a challenge.
Decided that since I would be up to my waist in water wearing waders, to bring the Map’mups with some tools on it so I could easily access them. I knew I would likely be cutting away wood, debris, rope, wire, etc. And I did.

Only took a few furtive pictures. Standing up to my waist in water, trying to maintain my balance on uneven, mucky creek bottom, with wet, filthy hands, in the moments between doing stuff, didn’t lend itself to photo taking.
The first of several shopping carts being dislodged with the aid of a come-along.
Alan back up on shore operating the come-along.
I really don’t think these could have been gotten out without the use of a winch. Those carts were stuck in there. Even when they were dislodged, they were often laden with sticks and the foulest smelling muck. And they were HEAVY! I think I’m pretty fit, but having to manhandle four of these things to dislodge all that shit, moving them so I could disconnect under tension chains, and then haul them up the bank - after two hours of that, I was beat.
The first of several tires.
Yanking another tire right out of the creek bank.
The creek in either direction of where I was standing.
The light was fading, I was pooped, and we still had to make our way out with chains and come-alongs and a few other tools, so we called it a night. There will still be shit for us to remove another time.

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