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Sound Rivers, Cummins host ‘field day’

Education, Environmental, Litter-Free Rivers, Sound Rivers, Stormwater Restoration Projects, Tar-Pamlico Watershed, Water Quality

Posted on August 31st, 2023

Sound Rivers Executive Director Heather Deck and Cummins Environmental Leader and Sound Rivers board member Miriam Espinosa scout potential trash trap locations.

Sound Rivers Executive Director Heather Deck and Program Director Clay Barber met up with representatives from the Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant last week, for a presentation of Sound Rivers’ work, a tour of their facility, and some trash trap scouting.

“It was very cool because the Rocky Mount Engine Plant team seems very excited about the work we have done and helping us continue and expand on multiple programs,” Clay said. “They came stomping around with us, and that’s always fun to get out in the field and see our stormwater projects and to see real urban stream pollution.”

Cowlick Branch, a stream in Rocky Mount, is inundated with trash. A clean-up of the creek could be one of the ways Sound Rivers partners with Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant.

Cummins and Sound Rivers will be partnering on a variety of projects and volunteer opportunities.

“They wanted a good, firsthand look at our work since they’re going to be financially supporting some of it, but it was also an opportunity to point out ways to engage with that work within their work area,” Clay said.

The group also visited Nash Community College to get a look at the green stormwater infrastructure projects Clay has headed up there, part of Sound Rivers’ Campus Stormwater Program: two rain gardens and four rainwater harvesting cisterns that collect rooftop runoff from a maintenance building, the auditorium, a child daycare center and the Early College.

“Nash Community College Vice President Adrienne Covington talked about our partnership, which was good because they have an ongoing partnership — recruitment and training — with Cummins and the Rocky Mount Engine Plant,” Clay said.

After meeting up with City of Rocky Mount stormwater staff and touring potential trash trap locations, the most promising option, Clay said, is at Battle Park.

Sound Rivers staff, Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant corporate responsibility staff and City of Rocky Mount employees scouted for potential trash trap locations.

“We need to check it out in high-water conditions, but it’s pretty promising. I say it’s promising because it’s in a highly accessible, highly visible entrance to the park, and it’s directly upstream from a boat ramp. I’m pretty sure the stream at Battle Park drains a lot of commercially developed land,” Clay said.

A Rocky Mount trash trap would be the fifth installed on waterways in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico watersheds, part of Sound Rivers’ Litter-Free Rivers program. Others are on Jack’s Creek in Washington, Duffyfield Canal in New Bern, Little Rock Creek on the grounds of the Walnut Creek Wetland Center in Raleigh and on Adkin Branch in Kinston.

Cummins Environmental Leader Miriam Espinosa — also a Sound Rivers board member — said the company funds projects promoting not only access to water, but water quality in communities where they are located.

“Everything starts with the Cummins value that we need to make sure we are good neighbors in the community,” Miriam said. “It’s not only about production, but making sure we are active in a health way with the community.”

A rainwater harvesting cistern was one of several stops made on the Nash Community College campus tour of campus stormwater projects. Picture are Sound Rivers Program Director Clay Barber (middle) with Cummins and NCC staff.
Sound Rivers Executive Director Heather Deck spoke about Swim Guide and other programs during a presentation to Cummins staff. Cumm

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