BTLT in the News, Your Land: A Little Brook Talk
Sandy Stott: Your Land: A little brook talk
December 3, 2021
The following column is the 7th in a series about our Mare/Mere Brook Watershed. December 6th’s Brunswick Town Council meeting will include a presentation of a watershed improvement plan from the Mare Brook Steering Committee. The plan recommends ways to attain a watershed-wide Class B stream designation, a significant upgrade from Mare Brook’s current “urban-impaired” status. Interested citizens are encouraged to tune in. Detailed information about the watershed and plan may be found at brunswickme.org/233/Mare-Brook-Watershed-Planning
For those of us who have worked on the Mare/Mere Brook watershed plan, this slim waterway has become a presence. And a few of us — well, one at least — make regular visits to talk to and with it. Water-talk isn’t as unusual as it may sound; brooks do, after all, babble. And so, it turns out, do I.
On this November day, down in a Meadowbrook gully, I ask, “What’s the brook-news?” And I hear in return about the recent rains, the chill settling out of the nights, and the passages of foxes, deer, raccoons, opossums, and even the rumor of returning moose and bear. “They’re here…or near,” the brook says, and I bend at a crossing to read their print-script.
“What about your oxygen level?” I ask. DO, or dissolved oxygen in brook-speak, is vital to life within, and the brook’s monitors measure it regularly. “Okay, it’s okay. Summer can be tough, when I shrink and grow warmer, but this year’s rains kept me going, flowing.” The brook answers further by sending two fingerling trout through the little pool beneath my feet.
“Could do with a little less runoff, however. When it rains hard, the water just pours off the roads and lots and into me, carrying all sorts of stuff. That clouds me, and it washes away colonies of my little critters [macroinvertabrates].”
“Yes,” I say, “I can see how that happens. There’s so much tarmac and roof-slough around you that the rain can’t soak through; instead it runs off to find you. We’re going to try to help some your neighbors figure out plantings and pitches that absorb or slow this runoff.
“So, I have a question for you,” the brook says. “During the open months when it rains, I often get washes of lawn stuff. Sometimes it gives me a case of the algae, which I don’t like. Then there are the poisons that get into everything. The birds tell me that some of you are avid about having one kind of grass only. What’s that all about?”
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