Remember the rubber duckies that were lost from a barge in the Pacific Ocean in 1992? The floating toys have since been found all over the world, demonstrating the connectivity of currents in the oceans and putting a cute squeaky face on the problem of plastic pollution.
On July 30, flash floods hit Ellicott City in Howard County and devastated the historic Main Street. The flood waters, from six inches of rain in just two hours, damaged or destroyed more than 200 buildings. Cleanup is underway and disaster relief is coming, but the mess in the Patapsco River remains. Mary Catherine Cochran, executive director of the Patapsco Heritage Greenway, described the debris like this:
I was in a briefing on Monday morning after the Saturday night flood and was shown a photo of an Ellicott Mills Brewery keg that had washed up on the shores of Fort McHenry. Not everything moves as fast. The river between Ellicott City and Bloede Dam–and even beyond is still full of large and small debris. Log jams, cars swept away by the flood, little tiny Christmas figurines that floated out of shops on their styrofoam rafts. It is a daunting project that will require state and federal intervention. At this point the E. coli levels are still astronomically high in the river from multiple spills and so access to remove the debris must be limited. DNR has closed the park while they wrestle with this issue and we’ll know more about their approach within the week.
Those figurines came from a couple of shops on Main Street
shop called Discoveries (edited August 15). Stream Watcher John Merryman found one Tuesday near the Route 1 bridge (5-6 miles away), indicating they are making their way downstream and will likely turn up in other places soon.
More than 80 turned up under the Ilchester Road bridge on July 31, August 5, and August 7.
We’re putting out the call on social media: If you find one of these, can you take a picture of it and post it with the tag #ECtreasures? We’ll get a Google Map going showing where they turn up and when, and maybe we can learn something about the flow of the whole debris field. You can tag us with @TrashFreeMD on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.