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RC3's Three Things We Wish You Knew About Rock Creek


Walking in the Woods

 RC3 is learning about the Watershed. Here are the top 3 things they want you to learn too. 

Brochure Map Cropped

1) Rock Creek is way more than just DC!

Do you know where Rock Creek starts? Rock Creek begins its journey at the Montgomery County Golf Course in Laytonville, Maryland. It then flows through Maryland, Lake Anna, Montgomery County Parks, and the District of Columbia for 33 miles before emptying into the Potomac. It takes a total of 145 miles until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean, but we are a part of that watershed too. Everything we do in the Rock Creek Watershed affects the larger picture.

This means that to keep Rock Creek healthy, we have to look beyond Rock Creek Park and the National Park Service. This is where groups like Rock Creek Conservancy and Rock Creek Conservation Corps come in. We look at the entire system to complete conservation work, restoration, and maintenance throughout the watershed, not just Rock Creek Park.


2) Soap and other chemicals in water runoff can hurt the environment.

Another thing we want people to know is that simple things, like washing your car, can affect the water quality of Rock Creek. Soap and other chemicals mix with water, which flows into the street drains. That unfiltered water goes directly into our waterways, and it can harm our ecosystems! 

So why is washing your car bad? Soap contains phosphates which can cause algae to grow like crazy. Algae looks bad, sure, but it can eat up all of the nutrients in an area. This is called eutrophication. When this happens, it makes it hard for fish and other wildlife to survive. It turns out that you can fix this by washing your car in designated car washes, on a lawn, or diverting the water away from storm drains.

This is just one example of how a seemingly harmless chemical can seriously affect water quality. Here are a couple more articles about runoff pollution and solutions if you’re interested


3) Litter from the whole watershed ends up in Rock Creek.

You think that gum wrapper won't matter? Pick up your trash! 

All of the trash you leave on the ground goes into our waterways and puts animals in danger because, well, they eat it. They think it’s food. So pick up your trash. Rock Creek Conservancy has pulled out over 1500 bags of trash and 1000 pounds of bulk waste from Rock Creek in 2017 alone. That’s a lot of trash. And again, a lot of this stuff makes its way to the ocean! What else do you think that garbage patch in the Atlantic is made out of?

RC3 Crew Members

Article written by RC3 crew members with assistance from Rock Creek Conservancy's Katy Cain. 

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Still want to learn more about Rock Creek Consevancy or RC3? Click here. 

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Tags: Rock Creek Conservation Corps 2017

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