Monday, September 23, 2019

Second Annual Street-2-Creek Storm Drain Art Contest In York County A Success!

By Jodi Sulpizio, Master Watershed Steward York County Coordinator

To help raise stormwater awareness, the Master Watershed Stewards in York County, along with local partners, held the Second Annual Street 2 Creek Storm Drain Art Contest.
Pollution from stormwater runoff is one of the number one causes of water pollution in the United States. Stormwater runoff is rainwater or snowmelt that has not infiltrated into the ground and runs across the land carrying pollutants with it. 
In a natural environment, precipitation is slowly absorbed into the ground by plants resulting in natural stream flows and good water quality. Impervious surfaces like rooftops, parking lots, sidewalks and roadways prevent rain and snow from infiltrating into the ground. 
Large amounts of water rapidly run off these surfaces into storm drains. Storm drain systems have been designed and put in place to carry this runoff from streets to waterways to prevent urban flooding. 
Curbs, gutters, catch basins, drainpipes and flood control channels make up the systems. Water moving through these systems is not treated before it is discharged to lakes, streams and rivers. 
Because the water is not treated or cleaned in the storm drain systems, they are pathways for many pollutants entering the waterways. Everything dropped on the roads or sidewalks, including oil, chemicals, grass clippings, soil, trash and more, could potentially pollute the streams they discharge into. Many people are not aware of this direct connection.
Because stormwater is a growing form of pollution and water quality is a concern for many citizens, the Master Watershed Stewards in York County once again partnered with the City of York, the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA Office and the Watershed Alliance of York and held the 2nd Annual Street 2 Creek Storm Drain Art Contest. 
The goal of the project was to increase public knowledge and awareness of the function and importance of storm drains and water quality via public involvement and artwork. 
The artwork around the storm drains raises citizen awareness and helps educate the public about the connection between storm drains and local streams. 
Master Watershed Stewards put a “call” out to artists living in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Twenty-seven creative designs were submitted. 
A panel of judges made up of community leaders judged the artwork using a rubric, and the top eight artists were selected. The storm drains were then painted in downtown York, and Saturday, August 24th the winning artists were recognized at the Yorkfest Fine Arts Festival.
As you walk the streets of York, you may come upon tangling octopus legs reaching out of a storm drain, an elegant egret vigilantly watching over a storm drain or a map of York County watersheds illustrating the meandering streams flowing into the mighty Susquehanna River. 
The artwork adds a splash of color to the downtown area, but more importantly, each unique painting relays a message about keeping our streets and waterways clean. Our streams and rivers are worth protecting!
To learn more about stormwater, visit the [Penn State Extension] Stormwater Management website. 
More information on the project can be found on the Street 2 Creek Project website. This project was funded by York Water Company and the Sandy Hollow Arts for Recreation in the Environment. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation-Pennsylvania and the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association were drain sponsors.
For more information on activities in York County, visit the Master Watershed Stewards in York County webpage.
Learn how you can be involved with the Watershed Stewards in your county, visit the Penn State Master Watershed Steward Program webpage.   Stewards are active in 18 counties.... so far.
(Reprinted from Penn State Watershed Winds newsletterClick Here to sign up for this and other updates from Penn State Extension.)

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