Cleaning up streams a gift to the unborn
In our mobile society, living in one place for most of one's lifetime is a rarity. As a result, Americans are dependent on each other to be good stewards of the environment.
Think about it. How many of us remain in one place long enough to see an oak tree grow tall and massive or to see a polluted stream returned to its natural state and filled with edible fish?
So, we do these things for other people and they do them for us. That is why the improvements along Flint and Cotaco creeks are so exciting. If the work continues, people yet to be born will experience clean water and enjoy wholesome nature along the creek banks.
Conservation, however, comes at a cost that Foy Kirkland of the Natural Resources and Conservation Service hopes landowners are willing to pay.
With an Environmental Protection Agency grant of nearly $500,000, Mr. Kirkland hopes to create forest buffer zones along 13 miles of stream banks.
For landowners, many of whom are cattle farmers, the change means giving up some of their access to the water to stop animal pollution.
Other federal money is going into saving creeks within the two watersheds, also, as small steps in a long journey toward saving the streams.
Much of the money goes to property owners as compensation for loss of land use. Some, however, say previous payments failed to make up for their loses.
Farmers are a major cause of pollution because of runoff from fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides and animal waste and erosion all across the nation.
Many farmers are cooperating with conservation efforts. Those locally who don't might consider the pollution controls manufacturing plants along the Tennessee River must install at their expense.
Hopefully, more farmers will cooperate and the creeks will be clean in a couple decades.