Showing Appreciation for Maryland’s Rivers

Once upon a time, the Chesapeake Bay and her rivers and tributaries were so clean you could see through to the bottom. Sadly, this is no longer the case as the state of Maryland rivers and waterways continues to decline with the spread of urbanization.

Clarence “Doc” Kuntz, a retired sailor who ran charter coastal cruises for many years, has always promoted the idea of keeping the rivers clean. This year he formed a group of like-minded citizens to give the rivers a much-needed helping hand. The River Appreciation Group, inspired by Doc, is a consortium of citizens concerned about the health of local rivers and waterways.

“The purpose is to get as many people out as possible to enjoy the rivers and help keep rivers and shore lines clean,” states Doc. One way to accomplish this was to hold the first annual “RAD-PAD” – a day of paddling and stream cleanup hosted by the Rivers Appreciation Group on May 10th.

Free and open to the public, the RAD-PAD featured canoeing, kayaking, environmental education exhibits and stream cleanup. The event was scheduled to kick-off at Easton Point Marina at 9:00 in the morning. Unfortunately, the RAD-PAD was officially called off due to rain.  However, participants came despite the weather, reports Doc.

Participants arrived in canoes and kayaks and proceeded to clean up trash along the shore. Boy Scout Troop #532, led by Scoutmaster Jeff Bell was a wonderful asset to the event, according to Doc. “There were various education groups including the Chesapeake Wildlife Trust and Talbot County Creek Watchers who brought educational materials and had them on display,” says Doc.

The RAD-PAD event was designed to clean up the area along the upper Talbot River. Kuntz was kayaking along the river last fall when he noticed an accumulation of garbage and debris. “It was really disgusting,” says Kuntz. “As a result of this event, people picked up pretty much everything they could reach or see from a boat.”

Organization for the event began in January with good results. Kuntz says he would like the event to take place every year. “We hope people will become involved in picking things up along the waterfront in general,” he says.

Organizations that participated in the event also included The Talbot River Protection Association, Choptank River Tributary Strategy, Talbot County Parks & Recreation, Talbot County Department of Public Works, Pickering Creek Audubon Society and Maryland Natural Resources Police Reserve Officers. “Our biggest sponsor was Easton Point Marina,” says Kuntz. “Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay donated trash bags, gloves and a first aid kit for the effort.”

Active members of the River Appreciation Group include Jennifer Dindinger, Kate Rogers, Katelin Mielke, Cleo Braver, Bill Wolinski, Dick Tettlebaum, Tammy Broll, Robin Marshall and Kathy Meehan, owner of The Irish Crab Café.

One thing Doc noted was the event was accomplished with little funding. “It shows that you can do things that make a difference without a lot of money.” As for the goals of the River Appreciation Group, Doc says it is a long-range job. Next spring, he hopes to get more areas cleaned up along the rivers.

If you would like more information about the River Appreciation Group or would like to become a member, email Doc at pandinemd06@verizon.net.

 

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