Anchorage
43° F
Clear
Clear

Anchorage Residents Clean Up Local Creeks

By Samantha Angaiak, Business, Employment and Real Estate Reporter, Weekend Producer, sangaiak@ktuu.com
Published On: May 15 2014 12:18:25 AM AKDT

When the weather gets warm, many locals take advantage by playing near Anchorage creeks.

ANCHORAGE -

When the weather gets warm, many locals take advantage by playing near Anchorage creeks.

While the water may look clear, Cherie Northon -- the executive director of the  Anchorage Waterways Council -- asks people not to drink it.

"There's a silent pollutant here in all our creeks, but one in Anchorage and it's fecal coliform," Northon said.

Northon says every creek in Anchorage, except for Rabbit Creek exceeds the state's water quality standards for fecal coliform bacteria, which primarily comes from pet waste.

A group with the Alaska Center for the Environment pitched in on Wednesday by tackling the Chester Creek area by picking up trash like empty bottles, old tires and a used diaper.

Nick Moe, an organizer with the Alaska Center for the Environment, says the group does it so that everyone can enjoy what the creeks have to offer.

"Creek health is a direct reflection of community health," Moe said. "Our creeks contain urban salmon that run in our urban Cook Inlet, where a lot of other salmon exist as well."

Northon says a combination of volunteer efforts and educating the public has helped the creeks become cleaner.

"Eighty percent of trash out in the Pacific Ocean starts on the land in our watersheds, so if we keep it clean here, it helps weigh out the bags and plastics that are breaking down," Northon said.