Sunday, March 15, 2009

03/15/2009 - Halls Mill Creek

Lunch: Public boat ramps at Dog River Park.
Cost: Free
Distance: Approx 20 miles.
Route: Paddle down Dog River to Halls Mill Creek. Paddle up Halls Mill Creek to about a third of a mile shy of Demetropolis Road and back.
Pace: Mostly leisurely except North of I-10.
Average Speed: 2.5 mph.
Weather: Mostly cloudy with three quick rain showers, 60-70 degrees, winds calm, even in the rains. The tide was high. Current came into play north of I-10 when it was 1-2 mph.

I did choose a rainy day to paddle Halls Mill Creek. Wanted to compare the trash volume in Halls Mill Creek with that of upper Dog River.

1) There were periods of sun and the waters were smooth all day.

2) Some wildflowers, shrubs, and trees are doing their thing.

3) Got to see an Eagle today, something which is a very rare sight around here.

4) Also saw several big Herons, this one seen cleaning trash from it's feathers.

5) This insect type thing attached to a twig was odd looking.

6) Another odd thing was this turtle that was swimming it's little heart out against the current under the I-10 bridge. It picked up its head to breathe, saw the kayak, and disappeared.
7) Cherokee Roses were abundant along the sides of Halls Mill Creek.
8) Some kind of grass seeds that were still wet from a previous shower.
9) Do you know how many different species of Lichens there are? If you ever want to identify a lichen, click here.
10) Azaleas are coming into bloom on Dog River. Disregard the trash.

11) Kind of hard to paddle this area without showing some reality photos. Click on the images for a larger view. For the most part, Halls Mill Creek was free of trash. Once I got up near the interstate and the local beach hangout, trash became more abundant, but all most all of it was on the edges along the woods - old trash, like in the above left photo. What is old? If this trash isn't picked up, it'll be here 50 years from now. How much more will be added to it by then? According to Alabama Marine Resources Division, Styrofoam cups take 50 years to disappear, 200 years for aluminum cans to disappear and around 450 years for plastic bottles.

12) On a ditch that parallels I-10, another type of trash became dominant. I wonder if the fact that there is a Wal-Mart less than a mile from this spot might be a factor in the type of trash seen in this photo?
13) This is Dog River in a natural state after rain. 

14) While it is plausible that I am blowing things out of proportion by highlighting this trash, does it really matter? After all, it's just small pieces of trash that should biodegrade within 400-600 years, right? Maybe you don't live on Dog River so it isn't your problem.

Would you drink from a glass of water that someone had just poured a little brake fluid, acetone, battery acid, and motor oil into? Not likely. That is only a fraction of the chemicals ending up in Dog River. According to a website on longevity in the United States, "...the average lifespan has been going steadily downward since the 1980s."

Our water and what is in it is interconnected to our state of health. Cheers! Drink up!

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