Creek Stomp: cool fun on a hot day

By on August 17, 2016
Participants in the Creek Stomp plant native plants along the streambank in Logan Park (Photos by Rochelle Shenk)

Participants in the Creek Stomp plant native plants along the streambank in Logan Park (Photos by Rochelle Shenk)

 

Finding ways to beat the heat is a challenge on these hot, muggy “dog days” of summer. Nearly 70 people of all ages found a unique fun and educational way to beat the heat on Wednesday, Aug. 10, as they participated in the Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance’s third annual Creek Stomp.

The event kicked off at Manheim’s Mummau Park with an opportunity for participants to explore Rife Run under the supervision of watershed group volunteers.

“We’re providing a hands-on opportunity to get into the creek,” said CCWA president Steve Gergely. “It’s fun and educational for children and adults to discover the hidden life within the creek.”

 

(Left to right) Andy McFalls helps his children Gabby and Cole plant native plants along the newly restored Rife Run streambank in Logan Park.

(Left to right) Andy McFalls helps his children Gabby and Cole plant native plants along the newly restored Rife Run streambank in Logan Park.

 

Adults, children of all ages, and sometimes their four-legged friends, eagerly explored the stream, looking for aquatic life.

“I’m drawn to things that focus on native plants and the environment,” said Jen Watts, Neffsville, “so this event is great for our entire family, even our puppy, who loves the water.”

Matt Kofroth, watershed specialist with the Lancaster County Conservation District, helped net a sampling of the stream’s macroinvertebrates for closer inspection. (They were returned to the creek after the event.)

“The macroinvertebrates that we see tell us about the health of a creek,” he said as he helped participants identify crayfish, minnows, Asian clams, mayflies, damselflies, and water pennies found in the creek.

He pointed out that although Asian clams are not native to our area and are larger than native clams, they help clean the stream water like native clams. He also explained that crayfish actually swim backward, and they can regrow their claws if one is lost in a tussle with another crayfish.

 

Adam Englebert (left) and sister, Megan, examine aquatic life found in Rife Run the Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance’s Creek Stomp.

Adam Englebert (left) and sister, Megan, examine aquatic life found in Rife Run the Chiques Creek watershed Alliance’s Creek Stomp.

 

The group then ventured across the street to Logan Park to celebrate the completion of the watershed group’s floodplain restoration of Rife Run as it flows through the park. Representatives of LandStudies, the general contractor, were on-hand to explain the project that was completed in cooperation with the Manheim Soccer Club and Manheim Borough.

Kelly Gutshall of Land Studies explained that the floodplain restoration will improve the water quality and restore the wetland habitat. As part of the project, soil removed from the stream area was used to raise and improve the soccer fields.

“In the past, the fields flooded pretty frequently,” said Gutshall. “Now they won’t flood as often.”

Vegetation helps to stabilize the new streambank.

“We’re trying to replicate a wetland habitat, and we’ve planted native wetland plants,” she explained. “This is the first growing season for the streambank plantings, so we’re maintaining it to eliminate invasive species.”

 

Connor (left) and Matthew Taylor prepare to plant a native plant along the newly restored Rife Run streambank in Logan Park.

Connor (left) and Matthew Taylor prepare to plant a native plant along the newly restored Rife Run streambank in Logan Park.

 

Creek Stomp participants had yet another opportunity to explore the creek itself as they planted milkweed and turtlehead along the newly restored streambank.

“It’s really great to see so many people out here exploring the creek in their backyard,” Gergely said.

Sara Gibson, Rapho Township manager and CCWA representative, said that the Manheim Soccer Club will not be using the fields until fall of 2017. This will give the turf on the fields an opportunity to become well established and better able to withstand the rigors of soccer play.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

 

Phil Watts holds daughter Olive's hand as she and sister Nora (right) explore Rife Run in Mummau Park with their dog during the Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance's Creek Stomp.

Phil Watts holds daughter Olive’s hand as she and sister Nora (right) explore Rife Run in Mummau Park with their dog during the Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance’s Creek Stomp.

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