Sunday, August 23, 2009

Photo is of what's left of an albatross chick with bottle caps and cigarette lighter in its digestive system. This is part of the reason we pick up litter from the river. It's a global issue, not just local.

We had a great day on the River yesterday, Saturday, 8-22-09. It was a special trip because we had on board the Monongahela Monitor Mr. Alex Lang, a new reporter for The Dominion Post, our local newspaper. He was interested in doing an article about our river cleanups and was new to the Monongahela River. He's also new to Morgantown, having recently received a master's degree in journalism at Columbia University.

We departed our marina dock just as the Arkwright, a boat owned by Consol, was coming out of the lock northbound with loads of limestone from the Greer dock just above the dam. As she steered out, we headed in, chatting up Mr. Lang about the river and our litter project. Naturally, he got an earful. (Photo courtesy Consol Energy).

We found, as we knew we would, a mother lode of litter along the west bank above the dam, the most high-tech we've come across: among the bottles and cans and Styrofoam was an old computer monitor (circa 1998) clearly marked WVU Hospitals.

We also got a bumper from a red Pontiac. So, if you've lost one up river, let me know.

But the great part was seeing the Osprey! Maureen and I were down in the river among the litter. Alex was on the boat pulling in our full bags, and right over our heads went this huge bird with a pretty good sized fish in its talons.

Later, we took Alex upriver to see some of the sights (a couple having lunch on the deck of a barge near the Morgantown Ordnance Works, a flock of turkeys in the field, the calm river reflecting the height of summer color on its placid surface) and yet another osprey gave us a great show, diving and flying around our boat. He took a close look at us, and I believe thought, "Hey, people, thanks for getting that stuff off the river." He might have.

Anyway, it was a perfect outing and the article should be in the paper on Sunday, 8-29-09. (update: it's now scheduled for September 27.)

A thought: the Morgantown Ordnance Works should be a preserved historical site. It was one of three in the US under very heavy security, developing heavy water for the first atomic bomb. I took some people out for a trip on the river and one of the passengers was amazed we had one of these. He had just been in Norway, and the Nazi heavy water plant is a tourist attraction there.

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