Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER Volunteers Earn Service Hours!

Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER Volunteers

My heartfelt thanks goes out to Bronte and Lane Thurgood for volunteering with Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER to fix up the wader wash stations along the Gunpowder River. The father and Daughter team drove all the way up from Fairfax County to volunteer. Bronte is currently taking an environmental science class that spurred her interest in Didymo and the measures MDDNR and Gunpowder RIVERKEEPER have taken to minimize the spread of the invasive algae.

Here is a quick report from Lane:

Theaux showed us a short clip on didymo and instructed us on our project of servicing 8 wader wash stations on the upper Gunpowder in and around Gunpowder Falls State Park. Didymo was first found in Maryland in May 2008 in the Gunpowder River. In December 2009, it was found in Maryland’s Savage River.  It had previously been located in Virginia in 2006 and West Virginia in 2008. First, we dumped out the dirty contents of the wader wash stations:Then added 5 cups of salt, filled with water, and mixed.Although that, [the didymo] doesn’t look that bad, the strands grow and grow and turn white and then disintegrate and travel downstream throughout the water column. In cold years (this one is NOT a cold year), the didymo thrives, literally blanketing the streambed in places. Then with the warming waters of spring, the didymo begins to break up and float downstream in pieces that look like small shreds of toilet paper. The first time I fished the Gunpowder was in April two years ago after a cold winter and I was amazed. I found the disintegrating didymo at all levels of the water column, attached to rocks, branches and sunken logs, rolling in the current like long strands of toilet paper. Even a dry fly would get gunked with disintegrating didymo in one or two drifts. It was terrible. We also took two trash bags and filled them with beer cans, bottles and the like strewn at the 8 stations. Additional wader wash stations will be added soon. One is a replacement for a station destroyed in flooding this fall. It was a beautiful day spent on a beautiful river.

Wader Wash Station Upkeep

For students interested in fulfilling service hour requirements within the watershed please feel free to contact us at 410-967-3526 or keeper@gunpowderriverkeeper.org