Jon Merryman is a usability engineer, training developer, and “Go Green Coordinator” at Lockheed Martin in Hanover. But when he is not at his day job, you can often find him walking along the banks of Deep Run on the Howard-Anne Arundel county line. Jon is a volunteer stream watcher for the Patapsco Heritage Greenway, a volunteer group that preserves, protects, and cares for the Patapsco River watershed. In 2011, Jon Merryman led the efforts to remove over 15,000 pounds of trash from the Deep Run/Piney Run watershed, proving one person really can make a difference.
Deep Run Watershed
Jon combines his love of outdoors with being the eyes and nose for pollution sources that plague Deep Run. Last year he organized and served as stream captain for three teams of citizen volunteers who gathered 8,250 pounds of trash that had washed into Deep Run. PHG works with the local county highways crew to have the trash removed once it’s collected.
Deep Run is a tributary stream to the Patapsco River which flows into Baltimore Harbor and then into the Chesapeake Bay. On the map it is shaped like a shepherd’s hook flowing south on the west side of I-95 then crooking back under the interstate to flow north on the east side of I-95 and into the tidal Patapsco. This is an area of commercial and residential development and consequently lots of street trash washes into the river from the roads, parking lots, and yards of these establishments.
But litter is not the only problem. Some use the river as their convenient trash dump.
When Jon finds illegal dumping, he often acts as a detective finding clues in the dumped trash to determine who may have dumped the junk, and calling the local police for further investigation and action.
Lockheed Martin employees also like what Jon is doing. They have donated over $500 to PHG to purchase additional supplies for future cleanups, honoring Jon’s volunteer service and his commitment to his community. Many other companies do this as well.
Most recently, Constellation Energy cleaned up a section of the Patapsco River off of Ilchester/River Road; R.E.I. of Columbia removing invasive garlic mustard in the McKeldin Area of Patapsco State Park, W.R. Grace’s Green Team helped plant 70 trees along with 100 volunteers in the Thistle Run Area of Patapsco State Park; The Michael Baker Jr., Inc. removed hundreds of tires in a recently discovered large tire dump in the Stoney Run watershed; and T. Rowe Price helped clean up a section of the Patapsco River near Hammonds Ferry Road.
In the last six years, more than 6,000 PHG volunteers spent more than 18,000 hours cleaning up 264 tons of trash and debris from the Patapsco Valley. The dedication of companies and citizens have combined to help keep Deep Run and the Patapsco River watershed clean for recreation and enjoyment. Stream Watchers like Jon Merryman and concerned companies like Lockheed and Constellation Energy are leaders helping make this happen. As a result we all can enjoy the river, the watershed, and a natural respite from the rigors of our lives.
If you or your company would like to join in this civic effort of cleaning our runs, creeks, and rivers, and of course the Bay, or join in the stream watch training to be held on Satuday, March 10, 10 a.m.–12 p.m., at the Pfeiffer Corner School House in Rockburn Park off Montgomery Road in Elkridge, contact the PHG Executive Director, Betsy McMillion, at firstname.lastname@example.org.