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Notre Dame College Water Activists on the Local Scene
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Notre Dame College Water Activists on the Local Scene

For several members of the Notre Dame College community, the campaign for clean water begins in the College’s own back yard. The campus is part of the Euclid Creek Watershed, a 24-square mile area drained by Euclid Creek. Home to nine suburbs and part of Cleveland, the watershed is endangered by erosion, flooding, and water contamination. To combat these problems, area residents banded together in 2001 to form the Friends of Euclid Creek. The volunteer organization works with city, county, and state governments to preserve and improve the condition of the watershed. One of the group’s founders was the late Janet Downs ’88, a graduate of Notre Dame’s Weekend College. Mary K. Evans ’65 has been FOEC treasurer since 2005. In 2003-04, she coordinated the Friends of Euclid Creek photo contest, held to highlight the beauty of the watershed.

Both Mary K. and Dr. Judy Santmire, assistant professor of biology at Notre Dame College, helped plan the Friends’ water testing project. In this ongoing program, volunteers regularly test water at sites along Euclid Creek’s branches. Mary K. serves as a tester, and Judy introduces her students to the project. One student, Tim McEwen ’07, was a tester during the 2006-07 school year. Again in 2007-2008, an NDC biology major, Zach Young, participated in the program.

As FOEC treasurer, Mary K. helped in the group’s successful effort to preserve a rare untouched wetland within the watershed. The 12.5-acre property lies next to the Highland Heights city park. Obtaining a state grant for over $200,000 and pledging to raise $70,000 more, FOEC last year paid for a conservation easement that prevents development on the site. This move saves several endangered species, including the dusty goldenrod, and assures the watershed’s beneficial filtering action of the wetland.