The Ever-Growing “Plate”

The Ever-Growing “Plate”
By Justin Evans, Manager and Zoning Officer at Mount Joy Township

I consider myself fortunate to have been raised to have an appreciation for the great outdoors – something that has stuck with me for decades. It’s no surprise that that early seed planted in me would lead me to study geography and develop a greater awareness of the relationships between the land, water, plants, animals, and especially us humans. Everyone lives in a watershed somewhere. And everyone has a vested interest in clean water. Sometimes a simple understanding of where the runoff from your home drains to–and where that waterway ends up–is a step in the right direction. 

Firsthand experience with the Lancaster Clean Water Partners’ Steering Committee opened my eyes to just how ambitious, motivated, and effective this organization and staff have been in such a short time. It has also shown me how important collaboration and coordination are in our pursuit of Clean and Clear Water by 2040. This lofty goal requires a wide range of resources to achieve, going well beyond money alone. People have the power to create change for good in so many ways. Clean water is one of them and we need strength in numbers to affect that change for generations to come.

In the past decade or so, I’ve seen awareness of Lancaster’s water quality challenge grow significantly in our communities. Much of that message sharing is a direct result of outreach efforts by the Partners, local watershed groups, and even local government. The topic of water quality in the municipal world often gets intertwined with six- and seven-figure restoration projects needed to meet permit obligations, stormwater management regulations, and other lightning rod-type topics. 

We may not be able to separate those expensive and top-down from the larger goal, but we can do more to inspire each other to become involved outside the realm of regulations and permits. There are many ways for citizens and the business community to get involved – stream cleanups, tree plantings, joining a volunteer watershed group, and so much more. As much as Lancaster County’s municipal leaders are simply trying to keep up with the ever-growing “plate” of duties and responsibilities, we can also do more to spread the message and meet our collective goal. 

There’s a role for all of us in achieving Clean and Clear Water by 2040.