Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ramapo River: What's New Floating Down the River

By Sharon Meyer

As we have been learning in the past few weeks of classes, many of nature’s resources can be seriously affected by construction, development, and basically anything man made. The Ramapo River is not an exception to this but the environmental groups like the EPA and even volunteers who live in the surrounding areas are doing their best to keep the drinking water clean.

In an article titled, “Disposing of Old Line is Easier than ever,” written by Mark Czerwinski, in the Record. The author writes about a group called East Jersey Chapter of Trout Unlimited. They have set up monofilament recycling bins where fishermen can dispose of their old fishing lines, instead of throwing them to the side and littering the river area. Many people who walk along the river also take part in cleaning up, like I mentioned earlier in the blog. These people wrote into the paper after Czerwinski wrote a piece on “keeping our fishing areas clean” saying that they also help keep the area clean by picking up fishing lines and trash. These volunteers are just residents of the area, not belonging to any particular environmental group.

The restocking of trout that was done in October 2009 and happens annually could be the cause for the group called East Coast Chapter of Trout to place those monofilament recycling bins. More trout means increased fishing, which leads to increased use of fishing lines that need proper disposing of. Not only this but the old fishing line that is disposed in these recycling bins is “then processed and made into pellets that are used for toys, tackle boxes and various other plastic items.” The disposing is not only environmentally friendly but then it is reused for other items. Who knew something so simple as reuse and recycle, is what is keeping our environment that much safer.

What is also interesting is that the trout that are restocked annually are also causing the increase in an purchase of fishing licenses. The number of people buying a fishing license “has increased for four straight years. One reason is that the Division of Fish and Wildlife has been more aggressive in marketing the sport,” according to an article in the Record called “Ramapo River boosts trout population” written by Richard Cowen.
Another article profiled a group of 14 men and women who took the initiative to clean up the Pequannock River, which provides water supplies to about 500,000 people. The article was “Paddlers reclaim the Pequannock - Group clears trash from river” an article written by Nick Clunn in the Record. These men and women were fed up with seeing bottles, and wrappers floating down the water to which then fills the faucets with drinking water of many of these people. So they took a four mile hike to clean up their water supply.

Overall, the Ramapo River seems like it is being well taken care of by surrounding residents, but there are still issues like pollution from other rivers, and river visitors dumping garbage in the stream, that need to be addressed. The actions of a few are seemingly making up for the lack of action by government and people who are damaging the river by dumping trash; but how long will these few put up with cleaning up after everyone else’s mess? Like anyone else, they may get fed up, and others will need to start caring about their water supply.

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