Archive for July, 2010


 Welcome ladies and gentleman to the all new Earth Korps 5 Dollar Fundraiser Campaign. The target of this fundraiser is to see how much money we can raise for the Shenandoah River clean-up cause in one years time, and also keeping track of how many folks contribute.  The idea came to me in a dream like many other great ideas do, and I think this will be one sure fire way to not only get everyone aware of this cause, but also to help raise money for the cause. Five dollars isn’t a whole lot to ask from anyone and with the support of a few thousand people there is no telling what we could do. So please, look over some of these photos of the Shenandoah and the amount of trash we have pulled already in just 3 short months and ask yourself, “Do I really not have five dollars to donate to such a great cause”? So, starting today, July 30th 2010, LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

Donations can be mailed to 1466 Belgravia Rd. Edinburg Va. 22824 or submitted via pay pal. Remember to put the name down that you want your 5 dollars to represent, and we’ll put you up on the sponsors page of the website.

Well today the captain and his new good outdoor buddy J.r. decided to clean a known dump spot in the Mt. Jackson area. We got to our access point and then soon realized that it also happened to be some sort of an old flood plain, and a also apparently a good hang out spot for youngsters. Along the way we ended up finding about 10 tires, a roll of carpet, tons of beer bottles and other goodies, and oh not to mention that 200 pound chest freezer we found buried about 3 feet into the bank, which after about an hour of digging finally obliged an decided that it wanted to come with us. We ended up having a great day and pulling 400 pounds  of trash, and like I said probably 200 pounds of metal out aswell. It certainly wasn’t our last weeks 1,600 pounds, but you can’t always access a giant dump site every time. Stay tuned though because we’ll be back next week with alot more stuff, heck we might even tackle that spot again on Sunday. Again pardon the blurriness of my camera, and please take note of the gigantic spider that we transported home with us on the truck. By the way she had a huge egg sack attached to her so I guess we’ll be seeing those guys soon. Have a good one, and remember if everyone pitches in there is no stopping the world from being a better place.

-Captain

 Not all times have to be work. Every once in a while you get the oppotunity to enjoy the great outdoors for pleasure. I figured that I would show some photos of the campout that myself and one of my earliest crew members and supporters went on Tuesday night ( the 27th), and yes she also happens to be my better half. More of the crew would have joined in our adventure, but it’s hard to camp on a Tuesday night. That being said I would like to show you some of the pictures from our wonderful evening. The landscape is absolutely beautiful, and surprisingly or unsurprisingly as it may be due to lack of rain, the water level was down so much compared to what it used to be. It was actually kind of depressing. We used to stock about 150 trout in that creek every year and I’m sure that they are all gone now. The water used to flow pretty well though for a small creek. Maybe a couple more rains and we’ll be back in buisiness. All water aside, we had excellent weather, not too hot and not too cold, and it was a great time. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed the camping. P.S. Pardon the blurriness of my camera. It seems to have gone  rogue on me here lately. If it’s not one thing it’s another.

-Captain

Shenandoah Riverkeeper E-News

10YrENews

Algae. It’s What’s on Tap…
JeffAlgae400px

What has Jeff gotten himself into this time? It’s algae, and it stinks! Algae festers when too much animal poop gets into our rivers and streams, releasing nitrogen and phosphorus. Our hot summer weather has been cooking the algae, which creates “dead zones” and contaminates our waters. Can you believe Virginia’s top environmental official is actually fighting EPA efforts to clean this up? You can tell Secretary Domenech to stop fighting and start helping by sending him an email (don’t forget to CC keeper@potomacriverkeeper.org)!

Celebrating the River at the Rodeo

Riverdance250

Our Shenandoah River Rodeo was a great success this year, bringing in 250 guests and raising funds for the Shenandoah Riverkeeper. Uncle Henry’s Favorites played, and taught us a few dances, while Ara Moomjian grilled up a monster BBQ. Our pre-rodeo fishing competition and flotilla were also a big hit. Thank you to the fishing guides and Downriver Canoe Company. We could not have asked for better weather, and being able to camp was a huge treat. You can read about our rodeo in the Northern Virginia Daily. Thank you to everyone who celebrated with us! We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Endocrine Disruptors are Invisible, not Imaginary
Did you know that some pollution has no color, smell, or taste? Endocrine disruptors are an example: they are invisible, but their effects are very real. Endocrine disruptors attack and mutate your body’s hormones, and they are particularly harmful for pregnant women. Unfortunately, these chemicals are found in many items, including pesticides, that end up in our drinking water. That’s why Potomac Riverkeeper, along with our lawyers from EarthJustice, have teamed up to tell EPA we need tougher standards for pesticides that have endocrine disruptors.

Congress is currently working on legislation to keep these chemicals out of our personal care products. You can watch this video to learn more about what you expose yourself to every time you lather up, and click here to learn more about what products are safe.

Time is Short on Coal Ash Safeguards!
The clock is ticking on cleaning up coal ash. EPA made it official on June 21, giving us 90 days to comment on the first-ever federal rule for coal ash disposal at hundreds of dumps and landfills across the country. We’ve got just three months to send 50,000 emails to EPA, telling them to set strong, federally enforceable safeguards against this hazardous waste. You can join us and make comments here!

Shenandoah Riverkeeper Conservation Fund
The Shenandoah River is one of the most beautiful and bountiful rivers in America. It also has serious pollution problems. Millions of fishing guides, tourists, and residents rely on the Shenandoah as a source of inspiration as well as a source of income and drinking water. We would like to thank three local businesses that are making a commitment to restore the Shenandoah River for all of us: Downriver Canoe Company, Front Royal Canoe Company, and Shenandoah River Outfitters. These businesses have all agreed to contribute to the Shenandoah Riverkeeper Conservation Fund, which supports on the ground action in the Shenandoah Valley: improving farms, cleaning up trash, and keeping the Shenandoah River healthy and beautiful. Thank you for your commitment to the ‘Doah!

Introducing Earth Korps!
We are very pleased to introduce our members and friends to Earth Korps: a new group on the Shenandoah River! Twenty-two year-old river enthusiast Beau Morgan founded Earth Korps last year, with the goal of “cleaning the masses of physical pollution that are desecrating the Shenandoah’s natural beauty.” Beau grew up on the Shenandoah, and is the grandson of Harry Murray, owner of Murray’s Fly Shop in Edinburg. Take some time to visit the Earth Korps website and see how you can help this great organization.

Hydrofracking Petition

Hydrofracking Virginia● Shenandoah Valley Concerned Citizens
April 28, 2010 9:17 pm
Petition to ban horizontal drilling and hydrofracking in Rockingham County
by admin in Uncategorized

Shenandoah River

The North Fork of the Shenandoah, downstream from the proposed drilling site.
Click on the more link to read the petition and sign your name!

Bruce W. Ritchie
mtnprivy@yahoo.com
540-852-3422
24234 German River Rd
Criders, Va 22820

We the undersigned ask you to sign our petition.

Whereas,

1. With a failure rate of between 2 to 8 percent, horizontal drilling and hydrofracking pose an unacceptable risk to our drinking water and the quality of wells, groundwater, aquifers, ponds and streams.

2. Drilling will introduce over 250 chemicals into our air and water, placing local residents, wildlife, and critical agriculture and watershed areas at risk.

3. Communities where hydrofracking has occurred have experienced explosions, fires, spills, stream contamination,
and well pollution as well as degradation of aquifers and other water supplies.

4. Local emergency services, including volunteer fire departments, EMS units, and healthcare providers, will be
severely stressed and placed at considerable risk from accidents.

5. Gas drilling in Virginia will involve construction of a massive infrastructure of wellheads, pipelines, compressing stations, and processing centers spread across much of rural Rockingham County.

6. Infrastructure development would likely involve extensive clearcutting, 24-hour noise and light pollution, huge increases
of truck traffic, and the permanent altering of existing landscapes.

7. Industrialization is incompatible with agriculture, tourism, recreation; drilling and related development will significantly alter existing use patterns of rural areas including severe stresses on roadways.

8. Compulsory integration of neighboring landowners to allow gas extraction against their wishes is an unlawful seizure of land and an unconstitutional abuse of power.

9. Extensive drilling will undermine property values and increase tax burdens on local citizens, creating boom and bust economic cycles in local communities.

10. NYC’s Dept. of Environmental Protection has concluded that hydrofracking is too dangerous for the city’s Catskill/Delaware watershed. Why would Virginia be any different?

11. The original EPA assessment was fatally flawed in its open support of drilling, its minimization and dismissal of risks, and its failure to consider the total cost of drilling for decades to come.

12. In view of these problems Rockingham County could be seriously understaffed and underfunded, and is in no position to regulate and effectively monitor drilling in Bergton/Criders. While other states are scrambling to fix the problem we must NOT go full speed ahead.

13. Natural gas is not “clean energy” but rather just another polluting, non-renewable fossil fuel contributing to atmospheric CO2 and Methane.

We call on you to put the people first and protect our health, environment, communities, and future by banning horizontal drilling and hydrofracking to release gas from Marcellus Shale formation in Rockingham County Virginia.
To Sign this petition go to http://hydrofracking.virginiajournal.org/?p=97

New Market Numbers

 Alright, well what seemed to be al least 3,000 pounds actually ended up weighing 1,600 pounds by the time we got everything weighed out. I’ll tell you what though. It felt like more than that when we were loading this stuff  up on to the truck, and I’d be willing to bet that we had a little bit of weight escape us over night as the truck dried out, or maybe I just got excited and said the wrong number, but either way that is 1,600 more pounds of trash out of the Shenandoah River’s bed. We may or may not have damaged the truck when pulling these things out, but I guess  that’s what happens when you work hard. Sometimes things just break, but that’s the way of life ( what can happen will happen). By the way folks we do accept donations gladly and are in dire need of some financial help, So I’ll say to the world, Help your fellow environmental lover out so that he and his can keep up the hard work and really strive to make a difference.

-Captain-

Coal Ash Petition

Action Alert

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Action: Public Comments
Issue: Coal Ash
Deadline: Sept. 21, 2010
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Time is Short on Coal Ash Safeguards!The clock is ticking on cleaning up coal ash. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made it official on June 21, giving us 90 days to comment on the first-ever federal rule for coal ash disposal at hundreds of dumps and landfills across the country. We’ve got just three months to send 50,000 emails to the EPA, telling them to set strong, federally enforceable safeguards against this hazardous waste.

But the EPA’s proposed coal ash rule is far from perfect. Instead of setting a clear direction on cleaning up coal ash, the EPA instead offered two options: one that uses the strongest protections under the law to curb the coal ash threat, and another that maintains the status quo, offering no federally enforceable requirements to clean up the coal ash mess.

We’re part of a national coalition of more than 250 environmental and public health groups working together to fight the lobbyists for the coal and power industries who want little or no oversight over coal ash dumping. They’ve met with EPA and White House officials and will do everything they can to keep the status quo, which allows them in many states to dump their toxic waste without any concerns for nearby communities. They don’t want to clean up the coal ash mess they’ve made over the last 50 years and will be fighting for more delay, more cutbacks and less protections for our health and environment.

Let’s tell the EPA that we want strong, federally enforceable safeguards that guarantee coal ash will not pollute our drinking water, our rivers, our streams, our wildlife and our communities. This hazardous waste has been ignored for far too long, and millions of Americans may be at risk of cancer, developmental problems, organ damage and other health threats.Arrow icon.

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  • There are currently no federally enforceable regulations for coal ash, and contamination from coal ash dumps and waste ponds is already poisoning drinking water supplies and damaging wildlife such as fish and birds at contaminated sites across the country.
  • The lack of federally enforceable safeguards is exactly what led to the disaster in Tennessee, where in December 2008 a dam holding more than 1 billion gallons of toxic coal ash failed, destroying 300 acres of land, dozens of homes, killed fish and other wildlife, and poisoned the Emory and Clinch Rivers.
  • Living near an unlined coal ash waste pond and drinking water contaminated with arsenic can be more dangerous than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, according to a risk assessment done by the EPA.
 
  • Coal ash is contaminating our drinking water supplies, and it is only getting worse as the waste stream grows in volume and toxicity.
  • People living near unlined coal ash ponds, where water is contaminated by arsenic, have an extremely high risk of cancer, up to 1 in 50. This is 2,000 times greater than EPA’s acceptable cancer risk.
  • The toxins in coal ash, such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, chromium, selenium and others, have been linked to cancer, organ disease, respiratory illness, neurological damage, and reproductive and developmental problems.
  • Coal ash contamination by the bioaccumulative toxin selenium has wiped out entire fish populations and caused long-term ecosystem damage.
  • Coal ash contamination disproportionally impacts the poorest communities.

 Today Ladies and gentlemen myself, Jack Chapman, Jr Almquist, and Rowland cleaned an apparent “dump site” in New Market. We pulled at least 3,000 pounds of trash out of the river today. We’re talking about 1 refridgerator, 3 stoves, 10 tires, a king size mattress, a side off of an old camper, and a bunch of other goodies. Let me tell you what people there is nothing like yanking a bunch of stuff up the bank of the river via 4-wheel drive. We worked our tails off, and none of us got out of there without being covered in mud and being soaking wet today. I would definately like to give a huge thanks to those guys for giving me their all today. If we keep rolling at this pace the river will be doing good before we know it. I’m sure there are many more areas that are as badly polluted as that on is, and that’s a shame. It’s a real eye opener to see things that bad in such a short stretch of river. If you read this, let the world know of what you’ve read, and the things that you have seen off of this blog and the website www.earthkorps.org as well. The key is awareness folks. The more people that know that there are groups of people devoting this kind of time and effort to the environment then the more there will be that will follow. We have the opportunity as the youth of the nation, and even if you’re not the youth, we still have an opportunity in front of us to make a change, and not the kind of change that politics talks about, but a real piece by piece change the the world as we know it in order to preserve the Earth for future generations. Take a stand people, find a passion, and do your part.

Also, Let me be the first to give a huge thank you to Jeff Murray of Murrays Fly Shop for donating a much needed boat trailer to me for use in the organization. This gift will make working alot better, allowing us to have twice the towing capabilities, which grants us the power to get twice the amount of work done.

Thank you to all of the folks who help us out and donate any type of time, service, or tool. Read up on all our sponsors online at www.earthkorps.org or for answers to questions e-mail us a earthkorps@yahoo.com

The Shenandoah River Rodeo.

 I would like to let everyone know about the great time that they missed out on this past weekend. The third annual Shenandoah River Rodeo took place this weekend  in Bentonville Virginia at the Low Water Camp Ground. A good friend of mine and the man also know as the Shenandoah Riverkeeper named Jeff Kelble was the man behind the madness for this event. This is a fundraiser held for the non-profit organization Potomac River Keeper, who also happens to be my fiscal agent in the business world. The party though was amazing for the time that I was able to spend there.

 Unfortunately I did not get to take part in the Guided fishing tours earlier that morning or the late night action after the campground shut down for the night, but while I was there I was able to enjoy some awesome blue grass form a band whos name is escaping me right now, free bbq, free keg beer, and an awesome time. Low and behold the riverkeeper made it fun for everybody, giving out door prizes, having some sort of line dancing that I made sure to stay away from, and also prizes for all the children to take home with them. A few hundred people showed up, and I hope he was able to raise some money for his organization. I appreciate the shout- out Mr. Kelble during the thank you’s and I will continue to strive to make the Shenandoah and other rivers like it a better place.

 Next year ladies and gentleman make yourselves aware of the good time in Bentonville known as the Shenandoah  River Rodeo.

Captain

Captains Log,

July 1st 2010

Earth Korps braved the floodplane of Burnshire dam. now alot of you may think “o.k.” not a big deal, just a floodplane. Well you’re wrong. This place is known for the hundreds of snakes that inhabit the place, and there is no real access to remove trash. So what do we do? We tie 5 gallon buckets to hundred foot ropes and hoist everything up. All in all i’d like to say it was a great success, and thanks to the folks that came out and worked hard with us. We removed 3 full bags of plastic bottles, 2 full bags of glass bottles, a full bag of styrofoam, 5 tires with rims in them, and a bunch of other random stuff. After our adventures on the flood plane we set our sites South about 5 miles and retuned to Pugh’s run for a second shot at the trash that the thunder storms the week before chased  us off from.

The outcome of Pugh’s run was pretty good. We gathered all of the small things that were around, then upon walking upstream a bit located an abandoned culvert. This thing was about 14 foot long and as big around as a 55 gallon drum. With luck on our side, myself, two young helpers, and a friend  we managed to drag this thing six inches at a time about 300 yards down stream and up onto the truck. estimated weight,  800 lbs. Not bad for a days work.

Captain.

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