By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
One of Chatham-Kent’s most important waterways is getting some hands-on TLC thanks to the Imagine McGregor initiative.
The Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority project is aiming to revitalize the ecological health of the waterway and the soil along its banks with the help of the public.
According to Imagine McGregor project co-ordinator Anastasia Heuvelmans, organizers hope to engage landowners and urban residents in a variety of environmentally friendly endeavours.
“We really hope to spark people’s imaginations and get people involved even if it is just in small ways,” Heuvelmans said. “We’re really focusing on urban people.”
With a whimsical logo and regular upbeat social media posts, Imagine McGregor’s motto is “the creek, connecting people and nature.”
With its headwaters in Highgate, McGregor Creek threads through Ridgetown, eventually flowing into Lake St. Clair by way of the Thames River. It drains a 284 square-kilometre area.
Various projects are in the works with a successful paddle and clean-up held Thanksgiving weekend.
On Oct. 9, volunteers, some using kayaks, plucked 1,107 pounds of garbage from the water, salvaging what they could for recycling.
More projects are coming on board, Heuvelmans said, including the planting of natural vegetation buffer strips, as well as creating new wetland areas which serve to filter farm runoff before the water hits the creek.
Creating upstream tree cover is another focus of Imagine McGregor, Heuvelmans said, as some sections of the waterway have only seven per cent cover.
“We need to have more shade and create more diversity to make it healthier,” she said.
The conservation authority partnered with the Sunrise Rotary Club and other local Rotary members on the clean-up and paddle and they will continue to partner on further endeavours going forward.
In September, Imagine McGregor volunteers planted free trees as part of a giveaway sponsored by the local chapter of the Retired Teachers of Ontario.
Partners who plant trees received a property sign from the LTVCA indicating the owner is improving water quality.
To find out how to get involved with Imagine McGregor, contact email@example.com.