CPA Patuxent River Clean-up 2009

last update: Apr 6, 2009

Once again, a group of CPA-ers got together to paddle approximately 8 miles of Patuxent from the Queen Anne Canoe Launch to Hills Bridge.
Ralph and Chip think we have been doing this for 5 years, and like a river, ever year it is a little different.

Shuttles were set and we were ready to launch by about 10 a.m.  Here the group in spotless atire and good spirits awaits the order to launch.
Everybody is clean as we get underway
Cathy, Dorothy, Mark, Rich Chip and Sue set to go get trash!  Ralph is behind the camera.
The water level was "full bank".  The gauge upstream at Bowie crested at 2000cfs.  Normal for this time of year is about 500.  Chip suggested going upriver a bit to paddle through flooded woods.  Only Mark and Chip did, but they did not find much trash in the woods.
The water level was high
Mark nabbed the day's first wheel from the woods.
Mark nabs a wheel
This view looks upstream from Queen Anne Canoe Launch.  The board running on a diagonal between the pilings at bottom left of the image form the top of a breakwater.  The single board that is visible is the top most of a four or five foot tall wall, and at normal levels, there is daylight between the bottom of the structure and the water.  The upstream, Bowie Gauge was reading about 5' over average and that is probably about what is shown here. 

Picture by Ralph Heimlich
In the past we could pull lots of trash from along the banks and from accumulations in bank-side strainers or in eddies.  These were either underwater or had been cleaned out by the high water.  We had to work for our trash this year.

At right, Ralph is using a stick to knock accumulate bottles and cans out of an eddy while Mark retrieves them as the float to him.

In past years, we have filled our boats by midway through the trip.  But this year, we were working harder and finding less.

We stopped at Wooten's Landing for lunch.  At right, Cathy is paddling the pond at Wootens.  The high water level allowed us to float over the rocks and into the pond.

Chip used a GPS to clock the current.  On the upper half of the trip, where the river is narrow, the current was pushing him along at 3mph.

Loaded with trash, Ralph and Dorothy are sitting low as they paddle on the pond at Wooten's Landing.
A scene from downriver.  Sue, Rich, and Cathy prowling the "banks" of the river searching for trash.
We reached Hills Bridge landing after 5pm.  It had been a long day, and despite less trash than we usually find, everybody enjoyed spending the day on the river in the glorious weather and interesting conditions.  We CPA-ers don't often get to play on a river with 3mph current.  There were some interesting waves as we approached Route 4.  The wind blew from the west all day, well over 20mph, but it wasn't much of a factor down on the north-south flowing river.  But there was a half-mile western fetch near the end of the trip and the wind interacting with the strong current produced some 1-foot standing waves.
Mark Woodside showed why he is Trash King.  Chip paddled the same river and worked as hard, but Mark just has a knack for trash, filling his boat to the brim.

Picture by Ralph Heimlich
The author hangs head, dejected over being out-trashed.  He says "I worked the river as hard as I could, but the trash just wasn't there for me this year."  On the brightside, his six tires was good for first place in the used rubber category and he is planning to open a tire store.

Photo by Ralph Heimlich
 It can be said Sue Bauer has a firm grip on the title of Trash Queen, but the opposite is also true.  She piled so much trash in the boat she couldn't get out of the boat until the group unloaded the trash that had a grip on her!  SK102 participants can look forward to Sue's  demonstration of the safety implications of being pinned in the boat by trash.

Picture by Ralph Heimlich

Words and pictures by Chip Walsh except as noted.  All rights reserved.
The end:   You can reach Chip by emailing chipwalsh at comcast dit net.