Restoring the Spicket

For the past seven weeks a select group of young adults from Lawrence have organized a work crew to remove solid waste from the Spicket River. The Spicket River Crew has worked tirelessly to make the river a better place for people and wildlife. The project is generously funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Natural Resources Damages Trust Fund. The Smith Family Foundation also provided funding for Groundwork to buy a truck to implement this project. Below is the first blog entry provided by crew member Santiago Reyes.

Lawrence, Its People & the Spicket River

The beautiful City of Lawrence a.k.a “Immigrant City” is a lively community where thousands of people year after year call home in this rare, multicultural society. Its unique structure hosts dozens of natural green spaces where the people of Lawrence day in and day out enjoy themselves at local parks located within close proximity of the Spicket River.

Regardless of the activities each person may partake in while at local parks, one thing is certain; the act of illegally dumping solid waste into the Spicket River is present. Such activities are illegal for two obvious reasons: (1) it harms the natural wildlife located along & within the Spicket, while (2) also creating an unhealthy environment for all those who find residence near the Spicket River. Examples of the types of waste that have been identified within the Spicket are: tires, TV’s, bikes, mattresses, glass, plastics, wood panels, metal, paper, couches, computers, car doors, and much more. Some of these items are swiftly swept by the rivers current and unfortunately enter lager water systems, like the Merrimack River. However, a great portion of the solid waste gradually builds along the banks of the river which creates a dangerous environment for all those who wish to come in contact with the water.

To work against this and to improve the environment within and along the Spicket, Groundwork Lawrence year after year hosts a Spicket River Cleanup. To support the volunteer efforts, GWL created a Spicket River Crew to work throughout the summer of 2013. The crew was specifically designed to tackle the debris built up along the banks of the river, freeing it from possible pollutants. The crew in many occasions had to physically enter the Spicket to remove hazardous objects like kitchen tables, office desks and living room furniture. The debris were stockpiled and sorted according to its trash type to ensure that everything ended up in its proper disposal stream. Once the stockpiles were complete, they were picked up at sites along the river and dropped off at our local D.P.W. yard.

The crew’s job also included conducting door to door campaigns in neighborhoods within close proximity to the Spicket. During each campaign the crew would ask questions and document responses regarding people’s perception of the Spicket/City of Lawrence. The crew would also encourage residents to NOT litter while also introducing the idea that they themselves are also responsible for the well-being of the Spicket. All in all throughout the campaigns the Spicket River Crew would urge residents to pass on the belief that it is up to the people of Lawrence to keep the natural green spaces clean and free of harmful pollutants. The crew’s work was sincerely a success because not only were the banks of the Spicket cleared up, but also the hearts of the people opened up to the idea of keeping the Spicket clean.

The Spicket River Crew includes: Santiago Reyes, Melvin Amador, Jasmillia Pantojas, Jennifer Vasquez, and Julio Antonio Recio-Martinez.