‘I think we take it for granted’: Creek Week will celebrate water in Rowan County

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 26, 2019

SALISBURY — If you’ve ever wanted to meet a hellbender, you’ll have your chance from 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 24.

North America’s largest salamander can weigh as much as 5 pounds and lives in clean, swift-running rivers and creeks. The lizard-like creature will be the star of one of Rowan County’s Creek Week programs.

The county is hosting its first ever Creek Week, sponsored by both local agencies and civic groups Aug. 17-24. Programs will include nearly 20 recreational and educational activities as part of its aim to celebrate waterways and highlight the need to keep them clean.

The amount of water in the county, including the Yadkin River and High Rock Lake, make it an ideal location for Creek Week, said Kelli Isenhour, education coordinator for the Rowan County Soil and Water Conservation District.

“We are very fortunate,” Isenhour said. “We do have lots of water, but we need to keep it clean.”

Most of the world’s water is saltwater, not potable water, she said. Although she doesn’t think most people deliberately pollute water, she said it’s often done unintentionally.

For example, many don’t know that water from storm drains isn’t emptied into a treatment or filtration plant but flows directly into creeks, rivers or lakes. When someone cleans a paintbrush over a storm drain or allows fertilizer to wash into the drain, those pollutants end up in waterways and harm the health of the water and things that live in it, Isenhour said.

“I think that most people could be more conservative with their water,” she said. “I think we take it for granted, myself included.”

Creek Week’s programs will both celebrate and raise awareness about the importance of water in Rowan County and how it’s health can affect the well-being of the communities that depend on it.

Programs range from a nature hike at Fred and Alice Stanback Educational Forest at 6 p.m. Aug. 19 to a sunset paddle on the Yadkin at 6 p.m. Aug. 23. Cleanup sweeps, workshops, movie nights and planetarium shows are also highlights.

Isenhour has unsuccessfully tried to set up drip irrigation in her home garden before. So she is looking forward to attending a workshop on setting up a simple irrigation system from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 21.

Although Creek Week is sponsored by the Rowan County Soil and Water Conservation District, the city of Salisbury Stormwater Services Department and HDR, nearly 20 other companies and organizations are also participating. Because of the enthusiasm of community partners, Isenhour hopes to make it an annual observance.

Details for the eight-day campaign can be found at www.rowancreekweek.org.