On July 20, many volunteers including CLF Attorney Ivy Frignoca helped plant vegetation along a tributary of Long Creek which winds through South Portland, Maine, and eventually empties into Casco Bay. The planting was part of the Long Creek Restoration Project, a collaborative 10 year plan to reverse the impacts of years of stormwater pollution to Long Creek. The creek runs through the Maine Mall and surrounding industrial/commercial area where it receives runoff from impervious areas like rooftops, roads and parking lots. This runoff carries heavy metals and other toxins into the creek, and has killed brook trout and other species that once lived there.
In 2008, CLF petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and asked it to issue a permit requiring area businesses to clean up the pollution. EPA issued the permit. Landowners and other stakeholders then banded together to form the Long Creek Restoration Partnership. To learn more about that effort, read this archived article from the Portland Press Herald.
The partnership is 3 years into its 10 year management plan and has put in place plantings, filters, and other items that have already reduced runoff from 30% of the land subject to the permit. Water quality testing is showing promising improvement and more projects are planned for the next several years! This year expect to see plantings in road medians and in 2015, trees added to the Maine Mall Parking lot.