By LYDELLE ABBOTT
The Bardstown Boaters will begin their first expedition monitoring local waterways Saturday.
The partnership with the city of Bardstown was born from the city’s need for a third party to check creeks for unlawful discharges.
The boaters, a whitewater paddling and water conservation group, will begin with Withrow Creek.
The group will look for and document infractions for the next five years in Buffalo Creek, Withrow Creek, Town Creek, Rowan Creek and Mill Creek. Each waterway has about five miles to be checked, said Josh Cammack, Bardstown’s MS4 (municipal separate storm sewer system) GIS coordinator.
The boaters will have about 10 volunteers going out in small groups of three or four checking on one creek at a time, Bardstown Boaters president Spalding Hurst said.
Volunteers from the group will walk the main parts of the stream bodies and use a hand held GPS unit and digital camera to capture locations and findings.
Specifically, the group will look for things such as point sources, pollutants and erosion or scouring, Cammack said.
Pollutants include dredges spoil, solid waste, incinerator residue, sewage, sewage sludge, garbage, chemical biological or radioactive materials, heat wrecked or discarded equipment, rock, sand, soil, industrial, municipal or agricultural waste and any substance resulting from the development processing or recovery of any natural resource which may be discharged into water.
Extreme erosion scouring is identified by stream banks that are tremendously undercut, have deep ravine type cuts from storm water runoff of adjacent property or bare soil with groves that channel runoff into the stream.
The boaters will report findings to the city so the city may work to combat the problems, Cammack said.
The efforts will help the city combat illegal storm and sanitary discharges that contribute to stream pollution, erosion and debris, Hurst said.
The state recommended using outside personnel to check the streams and the boaters are a group that expressed interest, Cammack said.
The decision to couple together was a no-brainer. The project serves a community-wide interest and they already have gear and equipment, Cammack said.
“It was a perfect fit between the two of us.”
The partnership is a “huge bonus for us because we don’t have the personnel to do it. It raises awareness for storm water runoff and betters everybody (by) getting Mother Nature back to where she needs to be,” Cammack said.
The Bardstown Boaters are not looking for additional volunteers for the project, but for more information about the club, visit www.bardstownboaters.com.