Community clean-up planned at Essex parks

Before the leaves fall from the trees, the Essex Conservation Committee is seeking help in cleaning up two the town’s parks and nearby streams. On the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 20, residents can remove trash from Indian Brook Park and Pearl Street Park, beautifying the parks and protecting the water quality of Indian Brook and Sunderland Brook.

“Community members are always looking for ways to help the environment and make a difference. This is an easy and fun way to do both at the same time,” said Jaysen Dickinson, chairman of the Conservation Committee. “Maintaining our natural environment and educating the public about relevant topics, such as stormwater runoff, are just a few of our committee’s goals.”

The clean-up spots were chosen in part because Indian Brook and Sunderland Brook, which runs through Pearl Street Park, are included in the Vermont inventory of stormwater impaired waterways. The Chittenden County Stream Team is supporting the clean-up effort. The Stream Team works with eight communities in the county to provide outreach, education and hands-on volunteer opportunities focused on local water quality issues.

“One of the most pressing water quality concerns in Chittenden County is stormwater runoff. After a rain storm, runoff travels across parking lots, roads and driveways, picking up and carrying trash, pollutants and debris into streams,” said Laura Dlugolecki, stormwater specialist with the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District and project manager for the Chittenden County Stream Team. “Removing trash from local streams is one way to improve stream health, water quality and wildlife habitat. Stream clean-ups also prevent trash from reaching Lake Champlain.”

The clean-up effort will begin at 1 p.m. at Indian Brook Park. Following a welcome from Dlugolecki, volunteers can stay at Indian Brook or head to Pearl Street Park. The clean-up effort should wrap up by 3 p.m.

The Chittenden County Stream Team will supply trash bags and gloves. The Town of Essex will provide refreshments. Chittenden Solid Waste District will use the CSWD Community Clean-Up Fund to cover disposal fees of the collected waste.

For more information, contact Town Planner Greg Duggan at 878-1343 or gduggan@essex.org, or Stormwater Coordinator/Staff Engineer Annie Costandi at 878-1344 or acostandi@essex.org.