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Letter: Volunteer to Monitor Streams

— To the Editor:

How can too much water be a bad thing? Why does the EPA want Fairfax County to control storm water? Come see for yourselves: join your neighbors at one of the many quarterly stream monitoring events around the county. It is a relaxing way to spend a fall afternoon as we check to see whether our streams are still capable of sustaining life. There you will learn that run off is a tremendous threat to the health of our waterways, upon which all life depends. Rainwater is meant to soak into the ground and percolate into the streams slowly, not rush off roofs, driveways, roads, parking lots, and other surfaces and then dump into the streams all at once. These huge surges lead to flooding which erodes the stream banks and topples the trees. Without those trees, there are no leaves to feed the stream organisms, which are also killed by the higher temperatures from lack of shade. Did you know that many flying insects such as dragonflies spend their larval stages at the bottom of streams? That “circle of life” thing is not just Disney pablum — the whole ecosystem depends on insects. And, oh yes — we have to drink the water, too, which has just been poisoned by our roofing material, pesticides, and oil leaks. The fault is not in the EPA, but in ourselves.

So think about how you can keep your water on your own property and not turn it into someone else’s problem. Divert your downspouts into a rain garden or rain barrel, use permeable pavers, build a green roof, plant a tree. If Fairfax, the third richest county in the United States, is unable to stop destroying its environment, how can we expect that of China?

Look on www.fairfaxcounty.gov/nvswcd under “Volunteer Stream Monitoring” details.

Margaret Fisher

Volunteer stream monitor at the Popes Head Creek – Colchester Road site