Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Recent Cleanup with WVU Students

Brady Gasser and Emilee Ross of Sandusky, Ohio, were my crew on the Monongahela Monitor recently. They are WVU students who signed up through the university's Center for Civic Engagement to help the community.

Boy, did they. Both of these young people worked really hard. We began in the morning doing a quick once-over in the Morgantown harbor area. I had to caution Emilee not to spend too much time on the real small stuff along the Ruby Park. I knew our time would be better spent up above the dam where litter once caught behind the dam drifts along the shores.

Sure enough, we found lots of the usual plastic, Stryofoam and aluminum cans, lodged along the west bank. In all, we collected 10 big bags of litter and a couple tires.

By the afternoon we were pretty worn out. However, I took the crew up to the Morgantown Ordnance Works. Emilee had asked what the old smoke stacks in the distance were. Of course she was asking the wrong person, because I can't give a short answer on that. So I told the whole story of the heavy water project there back in the early part of WWII.

Emliee and Brady, thanks! You are two are great! By the way, Emilee is a nursing freshman; Brady is in political science and geography freshman.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rain! Last swim?

With all the rain we are having, NOAA predicts that the river will go from 9.5 feet depth that we had last week in the channel to about 15 feet. At the "normal pool" level of 9.5 feet, 12,000 square feet of water per second goes through the dam. That's a lot. However, at 15 feet that rockets to about 34,000 square feet per second.

Lot's of water.

Well, I may have gotten my last swim of the summer in down at the dock on Sunday. I took some folks out for a trip on The Monongahela Monitor Saturday and it was so hot I didn't have much trouble convincing three of them to go overboard with me. They overcame their reluctance. I guess I understand that reluctance, but it's too bad. Anyway, those three are converts.

Then on Sunday, I went down by myself. I was trying to fix my stereo on the boat, with no success. It was hot, and after I'd determined that I was making no progress with the stereo, I jumped in. There were two or three boats from down around Pittsburgh at the dock (one was huge!) and several folks from those boats had jumped in, too.

Well, now it's raining, much cooler, and swimming in the Mon may be over for this year. I wish I had done more. There's something beautiful about jumping in the river, watching the green bubbles coming up as you rise with them to the surface from the cool, dark depth, or lying on the surface, in the peace of the river with the trees along the shore so green, and a kingfisher overhead, a dot of gray in the vastness of the sky.