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Stark News Details

Caring for the Nimishillen Watershed: What Stark Countians are Doing to Clean Up Their Waterways - Part 3

Posted Nov. 8, 2010

In the case of the Nimishillen Creek Watershed v. the Stark County community, we were all found guilty of contributing to the pollution of our waterways. Our sentence? We must not only think differently about how we negatively affect our environment but also act differently. It won’t be easy, but it is necessary to protect our water, ourselves and our future.

The good news is we won’t be alone in this challenge.

Here are just a few examples of the numerous local groups — from students to community organizations to corporations — that invite us to follow their lead in cleaning up Stark County’s waterways.

  • Through a Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District grant and funding from the H.W. Hoover Foundation Initiative in Environmental Media, Stark Parks and the Kent State University Stark Campus conducted a pilot program in June for teachers in three Stark County elementary and middle schools. The teachers developed projects to help them and their students understand storm water issues on their school properties and devise solutions to existing problems.
  • Kent State Stark will offer an environmental media course focused on local water issues next spring. Students will screen their video projects for a public audience at the Palace Theatre on May 12.

  • University of Mount Union students are working with the city of Alliance, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Western Reserve Land Conservancy, county health departments and other partners to study, identify and correct the sources of the excessive nutrients in the Deer Creek and Walborn reservoirs, where the city receives its drinking water.

Every few years, elevated levels of nutrients cause algae blooms, releasing chemicals that cause musty-, earthy-smelling and tasting water, which is unacceptable to many of the city’s consumers, though it is safe to drink. The city is also researching treatment processes to reduce or eliminate taste and odor problems resulting from algae blooms.

  • Meyers Lake Preserve, a nonprofit group, recently submitted a proposal to the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District for funding to remove a culvert near Lakeside Avenue that is emptying pollutants from the surrounding residential community into the lake. Once funding is approved, the culvert will be replaced with a naturally flowing, sculpted channel comprised of rocks and plants that will slow down the stream, reducing debris and sediment as the water flows through.
  • Through the H.W. Hoover Initiative, Kent State Stark students and faculty are producing a documentary focused on the Nimishillen Creek Watershed that will be screened at the Palace Theatre and on local public television.
  • Massillon and Canton are making substantial investments toward cleaner water. They have upgraded or are upgrading their waste water treatment plants to reduce the levels of water pollutants that are discharged into the streams.
  • Canton built a wetland in Reifsnyder Park that treats storm water from a culvert pipe before the water empties into Nimishillen Creek’s Middle Branch. The city is also installing a large retention basin along Fairhope Ditch in the East Branch subwatershed to improve storm water runoff and reduce downstream flooding.

Now that we all know what to do about our waterways, it’s time to do our part. Remember, we are all downstream.

By Cynthia Williams, public relations coordinator for the Kent State University Stark Campus. (Special to The Repository) Kent Stark is home to the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation Initiative in Environmental Media, a collaboration with the University of Miami’s (Florida) Arnold Center for Confluent Media Studies.