Water is a primary ingredient for sustaining life on this planet. Without it, crops wither, animals perish and people die. Protecting its quality and conserving its quantity should be a chief concern of us humans who rely daily on water for our very survival.
Unfortunately, we haven’t always been considerate stewards of this precious resource. That’s why events like today’s Ninth Annual Jacob Francisco Memorial Century Bike Ride & Awareness Walk is so important. The event helps to raise awareness of the importance of clean water and raise funds to prevent E. coli contamination. Part of the latter includes the development of Johnson City’s Sinking Creek Wetlands Center.
Earlier this month, the City Commission approved an agreement with Boone Watershed Partnership to begin work on the first phase of this center, which is a 28-acre environmental education park located off King Springs Road. The Boone Watershed Partnership has received a grant to help property owners along Sinking Creek better manage pastures and connect to public sewers. You can learn more about this worthy project by going to www.boonewatershed.com.
The Jacob Francisco Memorial Century Bike Ride & Awareness Walk includes a 2.5-mile non-competitive walk from East Tennessee State University along the Millennium Trail that runs adjacent to Brush Creek and West State of Franklin Road.
Helping the public better understand the dangers of E. coli is the goal of Johnson City attorney Bill Francisco, who got involved with the cause after his 6-year-old son, Jacob, died in 2004 from complications of an E. coli infection. Since that time, Francisco has helped raise money for E. coli awareness.
Now Francisco and others involved with the Sinking Creek Restoration Project are working to tackle a probable source of E. coli here in Johnson City. Sinking Creek has been identified as “impaired water” by the state of Tennessee because of E. coli contamination.
The source of this contamination is likely linked to stormwater/sewer and pasture runoff. This contamination can be eliminated, or at least dramatically reduced, with better pasture management and septic systems connecting to the city’s sewer system.